Thousands join anti-gov’t protest, new demo planned

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Thousands gathered Sunday on Budapest’s Szabad sajtó útja (Free Press St.) in order to protest against the “theft of freedoms” and to demand “a change in leadership.” The demo was spurred by the sudden silencing of the country’s biggest left-leaning paper Népszabadság a week ago, according to reports. Another demo has been scheduled for October 23.

The demonstration - dubbed “Our freedom is being stolen - Let them fly away!” - was called by the opposition parties Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and Együtt (Together). The protesting crowd, which organizers estimated exceeded 10,000 in number, was joined by a number of opposition speakers and former Népszabadság journalist Miklós Hargitai. 

“What we currently see is that the measures the government is taking are aimed at nothing but establishing a system of open theft, and those who dare to talk about this are silenced,” a description of the demonstration on its Facebook event page said, apparently a reference to the silenced Népszabadság. “We cannot watch over this without raising our voices, as even our eyes are being stolen as public money is transformed into private property, and we have had enough of attempts to make us afraid,” the description added.

Speakers at yesterday’s demonstration urged protesters to attend state commemorations on the October 23 national holiday and to hiss and boo while Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivers his speech. A Facebook event page, entitled "a concert of whistles for Orbán," has been created for the protest by Együtt co-leader Péter Juhász.

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