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Spring demonstration kick-off

March 13th, 2012

Turnout was low at the first anti-government demonstration of the spring season. Népszabadság regrets the absence of young participants; Magyar Hírlap believes the left wing opposition finds it easier to gather support abroad than at home.

Szolidaritás (Solidarity), a movement launched last year by former armed forces trade union leaders (see BudaPost June 19, 2011 and October 4 2011) opened the spring season with a rally in front of the Parliament building on Saturday, March 10 with an estimated 5 to 10 thousand people attending.

In Népszabadság, Miklós Hargitai puts the number of the participants at 10 thousand, but admits that the turnout did not represent a force capable of toppling the government. On top of it all, their messages could only mobilise the elderly generation – people over fifty, in any case. Just like the pro-government march held in January, (see BudaPost, January 24) attended by at least 100 thousand people. Hargitay remarks that on Facebook, the pro-government demonstration was “liked” by a mere 1400 people, while last weekend’s demonstration boasted 3500 people who promised to participate. The actual participants, nevertheless, belonged to the same age group in both cases. The left-wing commentator believes that both sides will need to reach out to more people if they want to “conquer the streets and perhaps win the next elections”. The potential winner will have to offer something credible to young people in their twenties ­ Hargitai concludes.

In Magyar Hírlap, editor-in-chief István Stefka suggests that the demonstration  shows precisely why the left-wing opposition has been inclined to complain against the government abroad: “the mass demonstration was rather anaemic”. Today’s opposition “lacks the yeast” necessary to gather mass support, Stefka contends, and warns left-wing leaders that they will not become any more popular at home, as long as they continue to “act against their own country” abroad.

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