Thousands of Hungarian students, teachers and parents blocked a Budapest bridge near parliament on Wednesday, Oct. 5 in support of teachers fighting for higher wages and teachers sacked for protesting.
Teachers have launched an “I want to teach” campaign and called for civil disobedience to demand higher wages, a solution to a deepening shortage of teachers, and the right to strike.
Protesters carrying banners saying “No teacher, no future” and “The teachers should be valued and Orban should be fired” filled a Budapest bridge, blocking traffic in the biggest anti-government demonstration since another blockade over a tax hike on small businesses in July.
The rally had been due to march to the main square outside parliament later in the evening.
Trade unions had called a nationwide teachers’ strike for Wednesday. After a nationwide teachers’ strike in January 2022, the government restricted strike action.
Several teachers were dismissed last week at a Budapest secondary school for joining the protest.
Earlier on Wednesday students formed a chain stretching for miles across the Hungarian capital.
Some held up banners “No teachers, no future” and “Who will teach tomorrow?”, while cars passing in the morning traffic blew horns in support.
Nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term on April 3, faces a mounting challenge as the economy is heading into recession next year, with inflation in double digits.
The government said it would hike teachers’ wages once the European Commission releases EU recovery funding to Hungary which has been withheld amid a rule-of-law dispute.
By Reuters. (Production: Krisztina Fenyo, Malgorzata Wojtunik)