More than 100,000 join internet tax demo
A crowd estimated by Reuters to include more than 100,000 people gathered yesterday for the second demonstration in three days to oppose the proposed internet tax. Similar demonstrations were also held yesterday in other cities around Hungary, including Debrecen, Nyíregyháza, Szeged, Miskolc, Győr and Pécs.
The Budapest protesters marched from József Nádor tér, over the Erzsébet bridge to the Zero Kilometer Stone located in Buda. The stone, which marks the zero point on Hungarian maps, had a symbolic meaning, as it represented the amount the protesters are willing to pay as an internet tax.
Zsolt Várady, founder of now-defunct Hungarian social network iwiw.hu, attended the demonstration and told the crowd that the tax threatened to undermine freedom of the internet. He recalled the growth of the internet and said "people were willing to pay for the service because they knew, saw and felt that their lives were becoming better. ... The Internet tax threatens the further growth of the Internet as well as freedom of information."
The procession was peaceful, and a speaker asked the masses not to chant derogatory terms.
While the internet tax was the main point of the deomonstration, many in the crowd expressed disatisfaction with the various government policies, and there were frequent chants of "dictator!" and "Órban, clear out!", referring to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. There were also many EU flags and chants of "Europe! Europe!" to express solidarity with the rest of Europe.
Zoltán Somogyi political scientist posted on his Facebook page that MSZP “collapsed after the introduction of ‘vizitdíj’ (a fee patients were required to pay for every doctor's visit) worth of HUF 300” and Fidesz “will collapse after introducing internet tax worth of HUF 700.” Should the government stick to the introduction of the internet tax, another demonstration is scheduled for November 17.
SUPPORT THE BUDAPEST BUSINESS JOURNAL
Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.