BUDAPEST – Protests in Budapest after a parliamentarian vote approving a controversial labor law ended early Thursday morning in clashes between at least one thousand demonstrators and local police, who used tear gas in a bid to disperse crowds.
The protests began soon after a two-thirds majority vote raising Hungary’s annual work overtime limit from 250 hours to 400, a policy propelled by the nationalist conservative Fidesz government.
Demonstrators, mainly youth, chanted slogans against the law such as: “We have come to work a few extra hours” or “Down with Orban.”
Hundreds of demonstrators then marched toward headquarters of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party, where police resorted to using CS gas against a group of people who tried to force their way inside the premises.
Demonstrators briefly occupied the Chain Bridge, one of Budapest’s landmarks, before regrouping in Kossuth Square, facing the Hungarian parliament.
Five officers were injured when scuffles broke out.
Police responded with gas canisters while demonstrators, in waning numbers and increasing violence, began a new march in central Budapest torching rubbish containers and street furniture.
There was no news of any demonstrators being injured in these clashes.
The governing parliamentary majority voted and passed Hungary’s new controversial labor bill, even as opposition members of parliament tried to block the vote with whistles and sirens during the vote.