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Teachers’ protest on October 23

October 26th, 2022

A pro-government analyst and a left-wing commentator offer diametrically opposed interpretations of the teachers’ demonstrations joined by tens of thousands in Budapest on 23 October.

In an interview with Magyar Nemzet, Ervin Nagy, analyst of the pro-government think tank 21st Century Institute accuses the opposition of hijacking the teachers’ protest to boost their visibility. The conservative analyst contends that the opposition parties, with Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition in the lead, have ignored the organizers’ explicit request to stay away from the rallies. Instead, they are trying to appropriate the demonstrations, as they themselves cannot mobilize enough supporters. Nagy believes that at this point, the teachers’ protests are no longer about higher wages but have simply become opposition rallies. Nagy claims that when opposition parties and NGOs, including what Nagy calls the ‘Soros network’s flagship organization’ Amnesty International joined the demos, they were transformed into generic anti-government events. In an aside, Nagy suggests that while the opposition parties try to block EU funding that would enable the government to raise teachers’ salaries, they use teachers for their own political purposes.

Népszava’s Dániel Juhász finds it completely normal and unavoidable that teachers’ protests are joined by opposition parties. The left-wing columnist also deems it unsurprising that demonstrators demanding higher wages and better work conditions for teachers should also criticize the government. After all, it is the government’s responsibility that teachers’ wages are so low, and also that inflation is growing, making it even more difficult for underpaid teachers to make ends meet, he continues. Dániel suggests that in a democracy, it is business as usual if opposition politicians join protests against the government – even if their presence creates an opportunity for the mouthpieces of ‘pro-government propaganda’ to downplay the importance and question the objectives of the demonstrations.

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