BUDAPEST, Hungary — More than 10,000 people protested Monday in the Hungarian capital, demanding the ouster of the head of the tax authority and greater accountability from Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.
The demonstration outside Parliament was spurred by anger over Orban’s refusal to dismiss Ildiko Vida, who has been denied entrance into the United States because of alleged ties to corruption.
The event, dubbed “Public Outrage Day,” was the fourth large anti-government rally held in Budapest in the past month. Smaller rallies were also held in 20 other Hungarian cities and in European capitals like London, Berlin and Stockholm.
Protest organizer Balazs Nemes blamed Hungary’s whole political class for the country’s problems, saying that “we are not here to bury a government but to bury a system.”
After the protest was officially over and organizers left, several thousand people remained on the square and refused to go away despite repeated requests by police.
The crowd dismantled some metal barriers near parliament and faced off with several dozen police in riot gear while singing the national anthem and chanting against Orban. Some protesters were trying to push police lines further up the parliament’s steps, but no violence was reported.
“The government is telling us one lie after another, politicians are getting richer and richer and in this democracy they’re the only ones winning,” said student Anna Der. “We have to make sure Orban hears our message.”
The largest protest in recent years was on Oct. 28, when tens of thousands rallied after the government announced plans to introduce a tax on Internet use. Three days later, Orban shelved the plan.