Volunteer group vows support for NGOs

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More than 100 Hungarian NGOs and tens of thousands of people joined the “Heroes’ veto” protest on Budapest’s iconic Heroes’ Square Wednesday, engaging in a “peaceful event,” according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal by the Civilizáció volunteer group for NGOs.

Protesters on Andrássy út, photographed from Heroes’ Square. (Photo: Bence Járdány/Civilizáció)

“The crowd of people freed up a heart-shaped area with the word ʼCivil,ʼ symbolizing that civil organizations are needed for Hungary. We are all part of civil society and stand for our communities, for our environment, and for freedom of thought,” says the press statement from the Civilizáció volunteer group.

Commenting on a draft proposal submitted to Parliament, which if passed would require NGOs to register as “foreign-supported organizations” if they receive more than HUF 7.2 million financial support from abroad, Civilizáció argues that this would “stigmatize and intimidate groups working hard to support their communities and their country. Because of its diverse work, civil society creates knowledge which is vital for the entire Hungarian society. The freedom of knowledge is ours, and we cannot let it be taken away.”

Regarding yesterday’s demonstration, the group says that “with the human banner formed during the event, the participants send a loud message to Hungary and to the world: We will keep working in the interests of the country; we remain who we are; we stay for what we committed to do. We stay to reject stigmatization. We stay so others can stay, too.”

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