Thousands of demonstrators marched in Budapest on Saturday, January 5, to protest a controversial labor law and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's government. The protesters reportedly marched from Heroes' Square to the parliament building through the center of the capital. Some demonstrators also called for a "national strike." A related demonstration is slated to begin at 12:00 (local time) on Színház Street in Budapest on Monday, January 7.
Additional protests are to be expected in Hungary over the coming days and weeks. On Thursday, January 3, opposition members of parliament pledged to make 2019 a "year of resistance" against Orbán's government. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Protests denouncing a controversial labor law and judicial reform first erupted in Hungary on December 12, 2018. Clashes occurred between protesters and security forces on December 12, 13, and 14, with police officers using tear gas to disperse crowds. President Janos Ader signed the labor reforms into law despite the protests. Opponents of the law have called the reforms a "slave law"; the law increased the number of overtime hours 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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