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‘Moscow weather’ delays demo against ‘Russian influence’

The unexpected snowfall in Budapest has prompted organizers to delay a protest originally set for this evening in front of the Russian Embassy in Budapest, to protest against what they say is the “increasing influence of Russia” on Hungary. The eventʼs Facebook page sets a revised date of Monday, April 24, from 7 p.m.

The demonstration, organized via Facebook, was set to start at 7 o’clock this evening. More than 1,500 people had pledged to go, while another 4,900 were tagged as interested in the event by the time of writing.

“In the past couple of years, the increase of Russian influence in Hungary is alarming,” organizers wrote in the description of the Facebook event. “Russian interference in Hungarian internal affairs holds a serious threat to our national security. We will not be Putinʼs Trojan horse in the European Union!”

The description goes on to say that participants are protesting, among other things, against “Hungaryʼs shift towards a Putin-style authoritarian regime,” “the destabilization of the European Union,” “the lack of transparency and Russian financial involvement in the Paks 2 construction” (referring to Russian financing of the upgrade of Hungaryʼs sole nuclear power plant), “the support and arming of the murderous Assad regime” in Syria, and “the violation of Ukraineʼs territorial integrity.”

The organizers stress that the event is organized independently from any political parties, and finish by declaring: “We will not be a Russian satellite state again! Hungary belongs to Europe!”

The current wave of mass demonstrations started at the beginning of April with a protest against the Hungarian government’s tabling of an amendment to the law on higher education, seen by many as singling out the Central European University (CEU), founded by Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist George Soros.

Since a subsequent demonstration of tens of thousands asked President of the Republic János Áder not to sign the so-called “lex CEU” legislation (to no avail, as he duly signed it on April 10), protestors have been hitting the streets in varying numbers almost on a daily basis, online news portal index.hu notes.