Hungarians rally again against 'slave laws'

A protester holds a burning flare in Budapest, Hungary. Photo: 16 December 2018Image copyright

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Sunday’s protest was the largest since the new laws were adopted last week

About 10,000 people have rallied in Hungary’s capital Budapest against new labour laws, which have been labelled “slave” legislation by opponents.

The crowds marched towards parliament and the state TV headquarters, in what was the fourth and largest protest since the laws were passed last week.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters near the TV station.

New rules mean companies can demand up to 400 hours of overtime a year and delay payment for it for three years.

The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the labour reform will benefit workers as well as companies who need to fill a labour shortage.

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Sunday’s demonstration was led by trade unionists and students.

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Police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside the state TV headquarters

The event was dubbed “Happy Xmas Prime Minister”. Mr Orban is seen by his opponents as becoming increasingly authoritarian.

The prime minister denies the claim.

His governing Fidesz party has said the protests are the work of foreign mercenaries paid by Hungarian-born US billionaire George Soros.

Mr Soros has denied the accusations as lies aimed at creating a false external enemy for the Hungarian authorities.