Protestors Take To The Streets Of Budapest In Opposition To Austerity And New Tax Laws

Protestors have taken to the streets of Hungarian capital Budapest in what is a fifth day of protests against the government run by authoritarian right-winger Viktor Orbán.

The protests are against economic measures that many claim are austerity driven, and against changes in the business tax regime that some say could harm small businesses.

Thousands walked through the streets shouting:

“Orbán, get lost.”

One protestor, Ilona Pusztai, told The Guardian:

“It’s crazy what they [the government] have done. This will not lead to more income for the budget.”

While another added:

“The government is currently planning such austerity measures [but] people cannot tolerate them anymore.”

Orban recently won a landslide fourth election victory against a united opposition, so it is unlikely his position is under immediate threat as things stand. However, like the rest of Europe, and much of the world, Hungary is facing rapidly rising inflation and its local currency is collapsing.

Orban also has difficulties with the EU regarding his illiberal stances on social issues and his party’s use of antisemitism in order to gain votes, this has included claiming prominent Jews are behind many of the problems Hungary currently faces. Hungary has also been severely criticised by the West for their perceived support or tolerance for the Russian regime, despite the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Last month it was revealed that Hungary could make half-a-billion Euros per year through a new tax it has put on Russian oil. Unlike the rest of Europe Hungary has not imposed a full embargo on Russian oil-supplies.

The Eurointelligence analysis said of the move:

“For Orbán, keeping pipeline imports but embargoing everything else is the best of both worlds. His government can benefit from both higher oil prices and continued shipments of Russian crude by pocketing some of the proceeds, at the expense of everyone else in the EU. What reason could he have to back down on this?”

[Based on reporting by: The Guardian]

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