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Hungarians demonstrate in large numbers against the Orbán government

Photo: Attila Kisbenedek Agence France-Presse A crowd of around 100,000 people responded to the call of lawyer Peter Magyar (center), who is challenging Hungary's ruling party.

France Media Agency in Budapest

2:21 p.m.

  • Europe

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Budapest on Saturday, in support of a former close friend of the ruling team who has become a critic of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and who intends to challenge the nationalist leader.< /p>

The demonstration was called by lawyer Peter Magyar, who has shaken up Hungarian politics since he came to the forefront, in the wake of the scandal sparked in February by a presidential pardon in a child crime case.

A crowd of around 100,000 people responded to his call, on Kossuth Square in Budapest, in front of the parliament, AFP journalists noted.

Many waved national colors and carried signs that read: “Hungarians rise up! “.

“We will take back our country step by step, and brick by brick we will build a sovereign and modern Hungary,” Mr. Magyar told the crowd.

He said he would soon announce the creation of a new party, which will run in the European and local elections in June.

Mr. Magyar, 43, is the ex-husband of Mr. Orbán's former justice minister, Judit Varga, who was forced to withdraw from public life following the scandal over a presidential pardon granted to a man convicted in a child molestation case, who was released from prison.

Long in the orbit of the ruling party, Fidesz, Mr. Magyar then separated from it, pledging to challenge Mr. Orbán's “power factory.”< /p>

Last month, he released a recording purporting to implicate a top minister in a high-profile corruption case, and called on the attorney general to resign.

“Mr. Magyar’s initiative must be supported because with the current opposition it is hopeless to fight against Mr. Orbán,” says Leo Szabo, a 49-year-old cook among the demonstrators .

Tamara, 36, a sports trainer, who refuses to give her name, is still “skeptical”, but she came to “do something, because it's crazy to see everything this government has been able to do without being worried “.

Peter Nagy, a 20-year-old student, is ready to give Mr. Magyar a chance, because the Hungarians “have nothing to lose.”

According to a recent poll, a party created by Mr. Magyar would garner the support of 11 to 15% of Hungarian voters.

Mr. Orbán, who has increased measures to restrict press freedom and strengthen his grip on the country, has been confronted since the pardon affair with the most serious political crisis of his 14 years in office.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116