Thousands gathered today to demonstrate in Budapest because of the projected modification of the small business tax, KATA. The government submitted the relevant bill yesterday and plans to accept it today. The new modifications concern 450,000 people in Hungary. Most of them feel they would lose their income if Orbán’s Fidesz and co-ruling KDNP accepted the bill today. The police highlighted in an announcement that the protesters took part in an unpermitted rally.
“Do not vote it!”
According to index.hu, Ferenc Gelencsér, the chairman of Momentum Movement, called the citizens to Kossuth Square, near the parliament. The demonstration started at 10 am, but the crowd, led by Momentum politicians, marched to Margaret Bridge later.
The demonstration runs under the title “Do not vote it!” („Ne szavazd meg!”).
Hundreds are present even though thousands promised to participate on the internet. If it lasts longer, probably more will join.
Opposition politicians present
Employees of many different sectors are attending the demonstration: from food deliverers to hairdressers and people working in the creative and movie sector. Several opposition politicians also showed up, including Ágnes Kunhalmi (Socialists), Tamás Mellár (Párbeszéd), Antal Csárdi (LMP-greens), László Lóránt Keresztes (LMP-greens), Ferenc Gelencsér (Momentum).
Below you can watch the live report of index.hu:
At around 11 am, the protesters started chanting that they would block Margaret Bridge. Index.hu says that the idea came from Momentum Chairman Ferenc Gelencsér. As a result, they marched to Margaret Bridge preventing public transport and cars to access it.
The Budapest police called the demonstration an unpermitted rally and started to issue fines for people blocking the traffic. Later they arrested a man who spat on a police car.
A group of protestors even sat down in the middle of the bridge and started chanting: “Withdraw it!”
Protest continues but the bridge is cleared
Index.hu later reported that the traffic on the bridge returned to normal, and there were much more police cars than protesters. The Budapest public transport company, BKK, said that tram number 4-6 did not commute between Oktogon Metro Station and the Buda abutment of Margaret Bridge. They recommend people to use the underground (M1, M2), instead.
As we reported before, the modification concerns almost half a million Hungarians working in various sectors. Probably, the most controversial part is that future KATA payers, with the exception of taxi drivers, will be allowed to generate revenues only by working with private individuals. The parliament will likely accept the new bill within the next 24 hours, which will take effect on 1 September. Meanwhile, taxpayers will have time until 25 September to indicate whether they wish to stay with the modified system or prefer other forms of taxation.
Many protestors argue that the modification is just a brutal tax increase resulting in the loss of their families’ earnings.
MTI reported that the parliamentary meeting was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to vote on the amendment of the bill which would restrict sole proprietors to use KATA.
UPDATE (2.00 pm) – demonstrators partially closed the Elizabeth bridge
Protester also slowed down traffic on Erzsebet Bridge on Tuesday early afternoon. Budapest police said that the protesters had occupied one lane in each direction on the bridge, MTI reported.
UPDATE2 (3.24 pm) – parliament accepts KATA modifications
After a long debate, the parliament accepted the government’s modifications today afternoon. 120 MPs voted for it, while 57 were against it. 1 MP remained neutral, telex.hu reported.
UPDATE3(9.02 pm) – police drove out the demonstrators from the Margaret bridge
Demonstrators remained on the Margaret bridge even after the parliament accepted the bill. The police drove them out only at around 8 pm. Thus, ordinary tram traffic could continue. They called the ambulance to a pregnant woman who did not feel well. Officers placed cordons on the two sides of the bridgehead so cars could return to the bridge.
Read alsoVIDEO: Protesters blocked the Elisabeth Bridge in Budapest – UPDATE
Source: index.hu, MTI, telex.hu
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