Numerous rallies are scheduled to take place throughout Hungary from Saturday, January 5, to protest a controversial labor law and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government. Opposition political parties, trade unions, and civil society groups are calling for tens of thousands of people to participate in a march in Budapest on January 5. Demonstrators will gather at Heroes Square at 14:00 (local time) before marching to Kossuth Square. Another rally is also scheduled to take place in at Tisza Square in Szolnok from 15:00 until 18:00. Further demonstrations are possible in urban areas throughout the country. Associated transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence are expected in the vicinity of the protests. Clashes between police forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Protests are expected to continue in the coming days and weeks. On Thursday, January 3, opposition party Members of Parliament pledged to make 2019 a “year of resistance” against Orbán’s government.
Protests erupted in Hungary on December 12, to denounce a controversial labor law and judicial reform. Clashes occurred between protesters and security forces on December 12, 13, and 14, with police members using tear gas to disperse the crowd. President Janos Ader signed the labor reforms into law despite the protests. Opponents of the law have called the reforms a "slave law," which increased the amount of overtime employers can demand employees to work from 250 to 400 hours a year. It also allows associated overtime payment to be delayed up to three years.
Individuals in Hungary are advised to avoid all protests as a precaution, monitor the situation, anticipate localized business and transportation disruptions, and obey instructions issued by the local authorities.
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