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80,000+ March Against Far Right Orbán Government as Part of Teachers’ Revolt

It was the largest public display of dissent in Budapest since Orbán’s reelection in April.

People demonstrate during a protest of teachers and students against the government's education policy and for better working conditions on October 23, 2022, on a bridge in Budapest, Hungary.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Budapest on Sunday evening to stand in solidarity with the nation’s teachers and denounce the far-right government of President Viktor Orbán.

With over 80,000 marching in the demonstration it was the largest public display of dissent since Orbán’s reelection in April as a revolt by teachers — demanding better pay and increased funding for schools — continues.

According to Agence France-Presse:

Since the start of the school year, teachers and high school students have staged several demonstrations in Budapest and cities nationwide, backing teachers dismissed for taking part in earlier protests.

Sunday’s march in Budapest was the biggest so far, and organisers pledged to keep up the pressure in the coming weeks.

“Everyone in my school is exhausted at having to fight for basics like enough teachers and equipment,” said 17-year-old student Anett Bodi at the demonstration.

The government ruled by Orbán — seen as an authoritarian ally of former U.S. president Donald Trump — has blamed the lack of money for education on the European Union which is withholding funds over accusations of corruption by the Hungarian government.

In addition to defense of teachers and student education, many in the march slammed Orbán for his support of Russian President Vladimir Putin as he continues an assault on Ukraine and the nation’s struggles with soaring inflation, especially of heating costs as the winter approaches.

“I am here…for my children, there should be change,” said Gyongyi Bereczky, a mail carrier, told Reuters. “This runaway inflation… we cannot save up at all anymore, simply we cannot make ends meet as prices are soaring.”

Speaking with AFP, Bodi said the fight for teachers and their rights to continue to fight for their schools was primary. “We totally back our teachers in their struggle for their rights,” she said.