Orban’s right-wing party Fidesz pushed through legislation on Wednesday that allows employers to demand up to 400 hours’ overtime annually and the creation of a new government-controlled court system to deal with cases related to corruption and free speech, set to begin operating next year. Angry protesters marched across Budapest’s Széchenyi Chain Bridge with banners reading “Free Country, Free University” and “To prison with this gang of thieves.” Demonstrators waved flags and colored smoke flares while chanting “Orban go to hell” and “We have had enough.” Riot police used tear gas against demonstrators.
Hungarian law previously permitted businesses to demand up to 250 hours overtime annually. The government motivated that the changes to working hours are “in the interest of the workers” and would allow people to work and earn more. The establishment of a parallel court system was also criticized. “There is no real argument behind the law, this is simply a political decision that aims to extend the government’s control over the judiciary,” said Dávid Vig, director of Amnesty International Hungary, in a statement.