Thousands of people demonstrated against freshly re-elected Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his conservative national government on Saturday in Budapest. They called among other things for changes to the electoral system and the protection of press freedom. The protests have elicited enthusiastic applause from one section of the press and harsh criticism from the other.
We Fidesz opponents are not alone
Journalist Àrpád Tóta W. was at the demonstration and comments in the weekly paper hvg:
“This evening did much good to a disappointed and suffocating Hungary that is rightly demanding more breathing space. A glance at the square was all it took to see that the nation did not vote as one for Fidesz, but that at least as many people voted against him as voted for him. In itself this is a normal situation. But it's not normal when a government treats everyone but its own voters as if they didn't exist. That is what drove the masses onto the streets. And there we saw that we really are not alone.”
A demonstration against democracy
Commenting in Origo Szilárd Demeter complains that the citizens' demonstrations come too late:
“With its results Fidesz would have won in any democratic system. You can work it out with every electoral system in Europe. So when thousands of you start marching and calling for new elections, you're killing democracy. You're not demonstrating against Fidesz but against democracy and the will of the majority of the electorate. ... With this demonstration you claim that only those elections that you win are democratic. But that's what's called a dictatorship. With this march you are destroying what makes Europe Europe.”