Opposition lawmakers ejected from Hungary state TV after protest


BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Security guards ejected two independent lawmakers from Hungary’s state television building after they tried to read out a petition on Monday, a day after police used tear gas against pro-democracy protesters in Budapest.

The two lawmakers were among about a dozen members of parliament (MPs) who spent the night in the state television building, in a continuation of their demonstration against the policies of Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The petition reiterated the demands of Sunday’s protesters, which included a call for the withdrawal of a new labor law, for independent public media and courts and for Hungary to join the European Union’s prosecutors office.

Independent lawmaker Bernadett Szel posted video footage on her Facebook page that showed the security guards tussling with her fellow-MP Akos Hadhazy and throwing him out of the building. Szel said she had also been ejected.

“We wanted to have our petition read out,” she said in the video.

Other lawmakers were continuing their protest at the building.

On Sunday, some 10,000 protesters took part in a march dubbed “Merry Xmas Mr. Prime Minister”, the fourth and largest such rally in a week against what they see as the increasingly authoritarian rule of Orban.

The march was largely peaceful until police fired tear gas at protesters jostling outside the TV station late at night.

On Saturday, Orban’s ruling Fidesz party said “criminals” were behind what it described as “street riots” and it accused Hungarian-born U.S. billionaire George Soros of stoking the protests.

Soros is a strong critic of Orban but says the accusations made against him are lies intended to create a false external enemy.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Gareth Jones.

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