March 9th, 2013

Thousands demonstrate against new constitutional amendments in Budapest

A demonstration organised by civil groups against planned amendments to Hungary’s constitution took place in the street in front of parliament on Saturday.

Several thousand demonstrators gathered in front of a stage erected in Alkotmany (Constitution) Street, among them former Budapest mayor Gabor Demszky.

The main speaker at the event, which was advertised with the motto “the constitution is not a game”, was the writer Miklos Tamas Gaspar. He said a new order was necessary in which “the people will finally rule”.

“We don’t want much, just…freedom, equality and fraternity,” he added.

The demonstrators held placards on which were written “Fair constitution!”, “Racism and anti-Semitism is a deadly sin” and “Constitution, democracy, rule of law!”.

Opposition green party LMP told MTI on Saturday that the party’s members and sympathisers would participate at the demonstration.

The invitation to the demonstration posted on Facebook said protestors wanted to speak out about constitutionality and the rule of law, family rights, higher education and the defense of the homeless and the poor.

MTI’s correspondent at the event saw police checking several youth near parliament dressed in black and standing under a flag with the Arpad stripes, the coat of arms of Hungary’s medieval Arpad dynasty which has also been associated by many with Hungary’s short-lived fascist government in WWII.

The demonstration finished without incident, a police spokesperson confirmed for MTI.

At the end of the protest, about one thousand participants with drums, whistles and placards, started out in the direction of the MPs office building, near the Danube. Demonstrators then crossed the Margaret Bridge and proceeded in the direction of the Constitutional Court building in Buda.

Three rows of police stood between the demonstrators and the entrance to the Constitutional Court when they arrived.

Speakers to the crowd said the court was “in its last days”.

Police intervention was not necessary at the event, said Budapest Police Headquarters spokesperson Viktoria Kovacs.

The demonstrators said they would continue their protest on Monday at the Sandor Palace, the residence of the president, who must sign the amendments before they can take effect.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the amendments to the constitution on Monday.

If parliament passes the 15 pages of amendments all Constitutional Court rulings prior to it will be annulled, though their legal effects will remain in force. Its judges will be able to align future rulings with ones predating the new basic law but they can make new ones too.

The court scrapped several transitional laws on technical grounds and it is now proposed that these be inserted into the basic law.

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  • szebbjovot

    If anyone wants to look at these garbage demonstrators

    An African at 2:36, and the rest a bunch of Hipster type white trash.

    • Pete H.

      A Hungarian with African ancestry you pathetic bigot. And there are Chinese Hungarians, and Turkish Hungarians, and German Hungarians, etc. etc. you scared little man.

      And you got the wrong protest fool. That video is from yesterday’s, not today’s demonstration.

      Here are your low IQ pals demonstrating:

    • Aloof

      Don’t need a time stamp for Jobbik and Fidesz supporters. They’re arrogant, small minded, racists, bigots, vulgar, provocative, confrontational, ignorant and dumb as a box of rocks 24 hours a day.

  • Aloof

    “The demonstrators said they would continue their protest on Monday at the Sandor Palace, the residence of the president…” who will be in Germany. Some would say convenient except that the Germans are going to tell Ader; “Cut the shit down there because we’re not going to protect you anymore.” Good guy to give the message to since Ader has been intimately involved with the “constitution” to include the amendments.
    If Fidesz actually passes the amendment on Monday then Fidesz is in for some every bad couple of weeks baby…

  • Paul

    Bayer about the Fidesz loyalists versus the opposition:
    “And we would gladly trample down all of them. But we cannot do it
    because the other side is waiting for aggression on their part.
    Don’t fret. After the elections “they will disappear forever, but until then it will be very difficult.”
    They will disappear forever??????

    In a statement to the international media Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi said mr. Bayer was misunderstood and misinterpreted.

  • Paul

    Just in:

    “We trust that these contacts will ensure that our concerns are taken into account,” commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen told The Associated Press, adding that the intention was to avoid facing “any vote that would result in incompatibility with EU law … and would make the time ahead more difficult.”

    In a statement to the international media Foreign Minister Janos
    Martonyi said the Hungarian lawmakers were misunderstood and misinterpreted.

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