Budapest, April 4 (MTI) – A crowd gathered at Budapest’s Central European University on Tuesday afternoon to form a symbolic human chain in protest against amendments passed into law earlier in the day, seen as changes aimed at the university’s closure.
Many participants wore “I stand with CEU” buttons, while speakers demanded that President János Áder should reject signing the contested legislation.
The protesters held hands and stood around the block including the CEU campus.
A speakers told the demonstrators that some 30,000 people had signed a petition in support of CEU but lawmakers neglected this which shows that they do not represent the people. Decisions made without the involvement of those affected are antidemocratic, the speakers said.
A first-year CEU student, Luca Laszlo, said it was “outrageous” that within a span of two days, the operation of an international university had been made impossible.
Other speakers also said that parliament’s decision was not only about CEU but about the present and future of constitutionality and the decision would cause serious damage to Hungary and Hungarian society. They also said that a national consultation should be held about how “to stop (Prime Minister Viktor) Orban”.
The organisers said the live chain included more people than Sunday’s demonstration which attracted around 10,000 people according to the organisers’ estimates.
After the demonstration officially ended at CEU, a part of the crowd moved to the square in front of parliament where they were joined by protesters who had been camping there for some time demonstrating about a different issue. They all criticised the government and said the parliamentary decision on CEU was “treason”.
The names of lawmakers who voted in support of the amendment was read out and the demonstrators tried to post a Hungarian and EU flag on the parliament building but police prevented this.
Socialist lawmaker Ágnes Kunhalmi appeared in a window of the parliament building and she hung an EU flag from there.