Hungarians march for free scientific research

Around 5,000 people demonstrated on Saturday in Budapest against the government's plans to nationalise the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA). They held signs that read: "Nationalisation is not innovation" and "Thou shalt not steal". Now is the time for protests, opposition media urge.

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Azonnali (HU) /

The iron is hot!

This is a particularly opportune time for protests because right now Viktor Orbán is at pains not to be thrown out of the EPP, Azonnali points out, urging Hungarians to take to the streets:

“The Academy has succeeded in mobilising the scientific community and all the foreign representations accredited in Hungary have conducted talks with it at the highest level. Now the general public must show its support. Hopefully the sun will shine and dozens of ice-cream stands are at the ready along the demonstration route. Hopefully after these European elections in Budapest no citizen who considers himself even halfway educated will still think this is all for nothing and it won't bring any result. We need to strike while the iron is hot. Come on everyone!”

Mérce (HU) /

Protests very effective in election campaign

András Jámbor, editor-in-chief of the left-wing website Mérce, also names a reason why the government could bow to the pressure of protest:

“Local elections will take place this autumn and the results could be close in Budapest and other big cities. A series of major demonstrations would be bad news for the government now, because it could cost perhaps not hundreds of thousands, but tens of thousands of votes, and even that number could seal the fate of certain cities and constituencies.”