Rival rallies compete in Hungary

Rival rallies compete in Hungary

BUDAPEST - Agence France-Presse
Rival rallies compete in Hungary

Thousands of Hungarians protest against Prime Minister Orban’s government during the 56th anniversary of Hungary’s 1956 revolution against Soviet rule. REUTERS photo

Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest on Oct. 23 for rival rallies for and against Prime Minister Viktor Orban, with the opposition event drawing tens of thousands in a major show of force against the charismatic but controversial leader.

The opposition rally in central Budapest saw former premier Gordon Bajnai announces the creation of a “Movement 2014” to challenge Orban in elections due that year.

“In 2010 people voted for change but (Orban’s party) Fidesz betrayed them,” he said, accusing the government of “making the rich richer and the poor poorer.” There was no official police count but estimations put the number of people at the anti-Orban rally at more than 50,000.

According to state news agency MTI, a “March for Peace” in support of Orban, organized and financed by business leaders and pro-government journalists, attracted 150,000 people. Numbers were swelled
by Orban bussing in supporters from rural areas and even

from the ethnic Hungarian minorities of other countries such as Poland.

Since coming to power, Orban, whose nicknames include “Viktator,” has introduced a raft of legislation that has seen him accused at home and abroad of threatening democracy in the European Union member state.