Thousands Protest Proposed Constitutional Changes in Hungary

A1130751 Hungarians have protested by the thousands against proposed changes to their constitution that they believe will limit their democratic rights, a report said.

Opponents of the proposed constitutional changes said they fear they will curb citizens’ democratic rights. This led to two days of protests in Budapest, the first taking place on Thursday with dozens of protesters. On Saturday, thousands turned out to voice their concerns, Deutsche Welle reported.

The parliament is to vote on the proposed amendments on Monday.

“A really worrying oppressive system is being built up here, like a dictatorship,” Milan Rozsa, a 25-year-old protester said.

Critics argue that the proposals seek to reinstate measures that Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government had previously introduced, but which were struck down by the country’s constitutional court in recent months.

The protestors said the proposed changes would have restrictive implications for higher education, by requiring students who receive state grants to stay and work in Hungary after their studies.

Another provision would restrict election campaigning to state media, something critics said would damage Hungary’s democracy. Among the other proposals is a ban on sleeping on the streets.

The changes would also curb the powers of the constitutional court by rendering any of its decisions made before the current constitution came into force last year invalid.

Saturday’s protest was organized by various human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.

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