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Pro-CEU Demonstration in Budapest

April 11th, 2017

The main pro-government outlet condemns Sunday’s mass demonstration in Budapest as a move inspired by the ‘Soros empire against the government’, while a leading left-wing commentator thinks that, over and beyond the future of CEU, what is at stake is Hungary’s membership of the European Union.

In Népszava, Miklós Hargitai accuses the government of steering Hungary out of the European Union and into Russia’s orbit. In his interpretation, the new law on higher education does not just aim at closing CEU but to ‘prepare for life outside the EU’. To support this conclusion, he argues that the government’s case ‘cannot be won as long as we are within the Union’. In his closing sentence Hargitai hints that if the opposition doesn’t defeat Fidesz at next year’s election, Hungary will find itself outside the EU. ‘We have one year left, at best’, he writes.

In its report on the demonstration held on Sunday with several tens of thousands of people protesting against last week’s amendment to the Higher Education Act, Magyar Idők notes the presence of opposition politicians and writes that the march quickly turned into an anti-government demonstration. After the organisers declared the end of the closing rally in front of the Parliament Building, a ‘hard core’ of a few hundred people scuffled with police and chanted strongly worded slogans, including demands to put leading politicians behind bars. Magyar Idők also quotes a few angry Facebook comments by supporters of the demonstration. In its headline, the pro-government daily characterises the pro-CEU march as part of an offensive by ‘the machinery of the Soros Empire against the government’.

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