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Teachers protest against education cuts in Hungary

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Demonstrators gather on the Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian Parliament building during an anti-government demonstration, called Day of Public Outcry in Budapest, Hungary, November. 17, 2014.

Thousands of Hungarian teachers have staged an anti-government protest in the capital Budapest to call for dialogue on education reforms and a halt to funding cuts.

Some 2,000 teachers said on Saturday that the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has excluded them from talks on an overhaul of the country’s education sector since he took office four years ago.

The Teachers’ Union of Hungary (TUH), which was the protest’s main organizer, also urged parliament not to accept the proposed 2015 budget which will be put to vote next month.

Gallo Istvanne, TUH head, said the spending cuts in the budget would eventuate in “mass layoffs, school closures, and less children staying in school.”

Andris Kovesdy, a secondary school teacher, also said that if the reforms and cuts carry on, he would not send his two children to school, adding, “No one from headmasters to parents has any say on anything anymore. Everything is centralized.”

Hungary has been the scene of a series of anti-government protests since October when tens of thousands marched to demand the drop of a proposed tax on internet usage.

The government scrapped the plan, marking Orban’s first major policy retreat since 2010.

Massive protest rallies have taken place since then against corruption in Hungary’s Tax Authority and against Orban’s policies generally.


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