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400 hours of overtime: Thousands of Hungarians join rally against Orban's reforms

Staff Writer |
Thousands of Hungarians marched to the presidential palace late on Friday to protest against reforms to the labour code as a rally led by spoof political party MKKP merged with a subsequent demonstration staged by opposition groups.

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Passage of two laws last week backed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party angered a variety of groups.

One, dubbed by critics the "slave law", allows employers to ask staff to work up to 400 hours per year of overtime. Another would set up new courts which critics say could be politically manipulated.

MKKP's gathering started outside Parliament, where one protester brandished a placard saying "Happy boss, gloomy Sunday".

The Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP), launched over a decade ago as a joke, has become a semi-serious force, using ironic humour to tackle practical issues.

Friday's rally also took aim at grievances including regulations that have led to the departure of the Central European University, founded by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, from Budapest.

"We can finally work eight days a week. We no longer need to hassle with independent courts. Homelessness has been eliminated. Irritating foreign schools will vanish. And Soros, Soros, Soros, Soros, Soros," said an invitation to the rally posted on Facebook.


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