Budapest, January 30 (MTI) – The opposition Socialists held car demonstrations against the new motorway toll system in Pest county and seven cities on Friday.
Under the scheme introduced on January 1, a fee applies to the use of the M0 ring around Budapest and links to motorways. E-stickers have also been introduced for individual counties costing 5,000 forints, or 16 euros, a year.
The demonstration ended with a line-up of cars at Kossuth Square in front of Parliament in the late afternoon.
Karoly Beke, the party’s board member and organiser of the Pest county protest, said that 89 cars had taken part in the demonstration. .
Jozsef Tobias, the leader of the party, called the new system unjust and disproportionate as it has levied a toll on sections that had been free to use until December 31, 2014.
Csaba Horvath, the leader of the Socialists’ Budapest chapter, criticised the government’s “PR campaign” boasting about having sold half a million county stickers. “It has been forgotten that in the meantime the system has forced hundreds of thousands of Hungarians to pay for something that was free before,” he said.
Closing the demonstration, senior party officials handed over a petition to representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Socialists organised similar demonstrations in the cities of Kecskemet, Gyor, Nyiregyhaza, Debrecen, Szekesfehervar, Tatabanya and Szombathely, protesting also against the congestion and air pollution the government measures are feared to trigger.
The Socialists in fact staged demonstrations against cheaper travel by car, the parliamentary group of ruling Fidesz said in response.
Under the new e-toll system, 70 percent of drivers have to pay less for the use of the motorway network, allowing them to spare tens of thousands of forints per year, the group said in a statement.
It noted that twice as many county stickers have been sold just in January this year than a year before.