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Thousands march on Hungarian state TV in protests against 'slave labour law'

THOUSANDS of protesters marched to the headquarters of Hungarian state television broadcaster MTVA last night, demanding airtime for opposition voices as demonstrations continue to spread.

They were met by riot police as they descended on the building in the Obuda district of the capital Budapest as opposition MPs refused to leave the TV offices after entering them earlier in the day.

Hungarian MPs Agnes Vadai, Bernadett Szel, Agnes Kunhalmi, Laszlo Varju and Akos Hadhazy tried to persuade broadcasting officials to allow the demands of the protesters to be aired, but to no avail.

The events followed days of demonstrations against the authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his right-wing Fidez party.

The protesters are angry about legislation passed last week allowing employers to demand up to 400 hours of overtime annually. The measure has been branded the “slave law.”

Mr Orban’s government has tight control of Hungary’s media and has taken much of it into state ownership.

In 2016, publication of the Nepszabadsag newspaper, the country’s largest independent daily, which had uncovered a string of scandals involving the ruling party, was suspended and ownership was transferred to a supporter of Mr Orban. 

The protesters have five demands — the cancellation of the overtime law, a cut in police overtime, the establishment of independent courts, for Hungary to join the European Public Prosecutors’ Office, and an independent public service media.

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