Street demonstrations have been among the most powerful manifestations of opposition to the government. These protests appear to be picking up steam. At first they only drew urban intellectuals and youths who demonstrated against acts harmful to democracy and the rule of law. Now that the Orbán-government is cutting key benefits and entitlements, the number of those adversely affected by the government’s policies is growing, as is the ratio of those willing to express their dissatisfaction publicly. As of yet, these pose no major political danger. This may change somewhat if the demonstrations turn violent, and even more so if the government’s policies drive a growing number of people into the streets.
Some of the most effective opposition against the government has formed in the streets. Smaller demonstrations against the government began relatively early into the term of the Orbán-government, but they drew almost exclusively hardcore MSZP-supporters, always a reliable source of easy to mobilise anti-Fidesz activism.
Gradually this sentiment expanded beyond the traditional anti-Fidesz base, sweeping up in particular urban intellectuals and youths concerned about the state of democracy in Hungary. The wave of protests expanded gradually, drawing in a wider range of disaffected groups. These groups, however, were still not concerned about Fidesz on account of the government’s existential effect on their life. They were worried about Fidesz’ unbridled power grab and the damage some of Parliament’s harsher measures were inflicting on democracy.
Policy Solutions' analysis on the street protests against the Orbán-government's measures can be downloaded from here.
Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research.
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