Thousands of Hungarians demonstrated against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration on Wednesday, the second day of anti-government protests after parliament rushed through legislation dramatically hiking taxes on small businesses.
On Tuesday, an hours-long bridge blockade in Budapest failed to derail the adoption of a move by nationalist Orban’s administration to raise the tax rate on hundreds of thousands of small enterprises.
On Wednesday, demonstrators chanted “We’ve had enough!” as they marched through centre Budapest, temporarily stopping major traffic junctions and another bridge over the Danube.
One of the rally’s demonstrators, Zsolt Turi, said the altered tax structure, which is slated to go into effect in September, will cause his income to plummet dramatically, which he described as an unacceptable scenario.
‘I’ll go into the illegal market… pay the bare minimum of social security, or I’ll pack my belongings and flee to the nearest normal country,’ he stated.
Orban, who was re-elected in April, is facing his most difficult task since assuming power in a landslide in 2010, with inflation at a two-decade high, the forint at record lows, and European Union subsidies frozen due to a dispute over democratic standards.
Since Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February, restricting gas supplies to Europe and rising fuel prices have piled pressure on Orban, whose right-wing Fidesz party remains Hungary’s most popular.