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Thousands demonstrate against internet tax

October 28th, 2014

The leading left-wing daily describes how Sunday’s protest against the planned internet tax turned into an overall anti-Fidesz demonstration. A moderate blog wonders if the opposition will in the future try to counter the government through similar, not necessarily non-violent mass rallies.

At least ten thousand people protested in Budapest on Sunday against the planned internet tax (see BudaPost October 23). After the rally ended, a few hundred demonstrators joined apparently by football hooligans (who in the afternoon protested against severe security checks at stadiums) smashed the windows of the Fidesz party headquarters while shouting anti-Fidesz slogans. Six demonstrators were arrested.

Népszabadság in a front page editorial finds it “surrealistic” that the proposed internet tax could bring together a bigger protest than any of the opposition rallies in the three election campaigns this year.  The leading left-wing daily believes that the motley crew of anti-Fidesz protesters including far-right as well as left-wing supporters wanted to express their overall discontent with the government’s course, and most importantly, with what Népszabadság calls “its attack on NGOs, independent media and its pro-Russian foreign policy”. As for the planned internet tax, Népszabadság notes that it would most hurt the middle classes who have so far been favoured by government policies.

Véleményvezér wonders if Sunday’s protest marks a new beginning for the opposition. The centrist blog suggests that the demonstration mobilized a heterogeneous mass of mostly young people who were mobilized by the main left-wing parties. Although it is unlikely that the Sunday protest will start a new movement or party, the fact that the demonstration against the planned internet tax spontaneously grew into an anti-Fidesz rally is a wake-up call for the government, Véleményvezér surmises. If protesters succeed and Fidesz recoils from introducing the disputed tax, the opposition may in the future try to counter the government through similar rallies, Véleményvezér concludes.

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