Thousands of Hungarian and foreign students, professors and civilians rallied in Budapest on Sunday demanding the government withdraw legislation that could force a university founded by financier George Soros out of the country.
The demonstrators, who walked from Budapest’s Corvinus University to the Central European University (CEU) founded by Soros in 1991 and then to parliament, said the bill was an attack on freedom of education.
Parliament is due to discuss the bill this coming week.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an outspoken critic of liberal civil organizations funded by Soros, said on Friday that the CEU had violated regulations in awarding its diplomas, an allegation that the college had firmly rejected as false. The CEU said it operated lawfully and was accredited to award Hungarian and U.S. degrees.
A year before 2018 elections, Orban has raised the stakes in his fight against civil organizations funded by U.S. financier and philanthropist Soros.
“We came as I believe (Orban’s) Fidesz party is building an autocracy and we want to demonstrate in support of free education as if it is CEU now, it could be Corvinus next,” said Milan Holper, 20, a student at Corvinus University.
“It is a joint attack against the autonomy of universities and free education,” the organizers of the protest said in a statement.—Reuters