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Hungarians protest again over clampdown on university, NGOs

Staff Writer |
Thousands of protesters marched to Hungary's parliament on Sunday in the latest mass rally against Prime Minister Viktor Orban's clampdown on a top foreign university and non-government organisations ahead of a parliamentary election due next year.

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The string of major street demonstrations in Budapest since early April has been triggered by a new law that would drive out of Hungary a top university founded by U.S. financier George Soros.

The European Commission started legal action against Hungary over the new higher education law, while the European Parliament condemned Budapest for what it called a "serious deterioration" in the rule of law and fundamental rights.

Budapest says those moves are part of a "vendetta" against Orban, one of the toughest opponents of migration to Europe who has called for transforming Hungary into an "illiberal state," citing Russia and Turkey as models of success.

Less than a year before a parliamentary election in April, 53-year-old Orban has launched a crusade against Hungarian-born Soros, whose liberal and internationalist world view is at odds with that of the nationalist-minded Hungarian leader.

Orban has rejected accusations Budapest was threatening the Central European University (CEU) and dismissed Soros, whose Open Society Foundations has been active in Hungary for three decades, as a "financial speculator".


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