Hungary pro-gov't march draws some 100,000 people

January 22, 2012 9:24 am 

BUDAPEST, Jan. 22 — A pro-government march initiated by prominent right-wing professionals to counter anti-government demonstrations earlier this year drew some 100,000 people on Saturday.

The marchers, coming from all over Hungary and neighboring countries with large ethnic Hungarian minorities, met at Budapest's Heroes Square, by a monument to heroes of Hungarian history.

Newswire MTI reported tens of thousands in the crowd of marchers and thousands more cheering along the sidelines.

The marchers, carried posters supporting Prime Minister Viktor Orban who has been criticized by the opposition as well as the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, the United States and others for moves they believe violate the independence of Hungary's central bank, judiciary, data protection ombudsman and the media.

"We refuse to become a colony!" argued some of the signs.

A second crowd waited at Parliament, the marchers' destination, to greet them.

The march was organized by journalist Zsolt Bayer, who writes for the right-wing Magyar Hirlap and has often been charged with overt anti-Semitism, Andras Bencsik, editor-in-chief of the conservative and nationalistic journal Magyar Demokrata, Andras's brother Gabor Bencsik, a historian who has written extensively about problems with the Roma (Gypsy) population, and Gabor Szeles, owner of the Magyar Hirlap newspaper.

Meanwhile, several thousand people, who used Facebook to organize, demonstrated in front of the presidential palace on Saturday afternoon, demanding the president's resignation after he was charged with plagiary in the writing of his doctoral thesis. The president has denied the charges and an investigation is underway. (PNA/Xinhua)

LDV/jsd

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