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NGOs and Opposition Parties Demonstrate Against Hungarian Government’s “Inhumane” Immigration Policies

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2015.09.14.

NGOs, as well as two left-liberal opposition parties held separate demonstrations over the weekend in Budapest in protest against the government’s hard-line approach to immigration.

Juhász Péter; Szigetvári Viktor

On Sunday afternoon, a crowd of about 1000-2000 people marched from the Pest bridgehead of the Elizabeth Bridge in central Budapest to Parliament square in protest against the “politics of hate”. The demonstration was organised by Péter Juhász, a politician for the minor left-liberal Együtt party, under the motto “Be ashamed of yourself, Orbán!” Mr. Juhász told the crowd that “it is completely clear that Viktor Orbán has failed as Prime Minister” and branded him an “inhumane, ruthless, vandal football ultra” who is “kicking Hungary out of the civilised part of Europe” with his government’s behaviour towards immigrants.

Also on Sunday afternoon, the left-wing Democratic Coalition (DK) party, headed by former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, held a separate demonstration in Egyetem tér, District V. In his lengthy speech, delivered to thousands of supporters, Mr. Gyurcsány criticised the Prime Minister for his “inhumane treatment of refugees” and also blasted the opposition Socialist Party for “avoiding conflict” in the refugee issue. He announced that DK, which is currently supported by 13 per cent of potential voters, strives to become the largest party on the Hungarian Left and organising a “human chain” around Parliament against “criminalising” migrants.

On Saturday, civil groups called for a joint European refugee policy built on solidarity as well as the building of a transit corridor to western Europe in Hungary at a demonstration held in Budapest. The demonstration marking the International Action Day of Solidarity started at Keleti railway station at 4 pm. Their campaign slogans included: “do not deport anyone to Serbia”. The organisers greeted participants in several languages, including English and Arabic.

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photo: Ferenc Bakró-Nagy/ and János Marjai/MTI