28 Mar 2018

Students fined for protesting quality of education

On February 23, Hungarian students took to the streets to let decision-makers know they are not satisfied with the quality of the education system. A month later, authorities responded by slapping a heavy fine on students and journalists alike.

Ivett Körösi
Ivett Körösi Nepszava, Hungary
Source: Nepszava
Students fined for protesting quality of education - NewsMavens
Students protest in Budapest. East News

Why this story matters:

Protesters were fined 160 euros, a third of the minimum monthly salary in Hungary, for "infringing road regulations". Some also received a warrant requiring that they go to to the police station. 

Protesters report their main "crime" was to linger on the site of the protests shortly after they had ended.

It feels needless to point out that authoritarian practices in Hungary are thinly disguised these days.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that these were not political opponents of the ruling party whose basic human rights are being violated. It was the youth of the country, the very same youth which, absurdly enough, Fidesz is trying to court into foregoing employment abroad with ludicrous flyers.  

human rights, illiberalism, politics, youth, education

Details from the story:

  • Students were not the only ones penalized by authorities. Journalists were submitted to identity checks, and some of them received fines and warrants after the protest.
  • Most of the students and journalists received a fine of 50,000 HUF (160 EUR). It is more than one third of the minimum wage.
  • One of the students has accused the authorities of lying in an official document. According to him, at the scene, he was not warned by the police that he was committing a minor offence. However, in the document, officers claim to have done so several times.
  • The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), a local NGO, has offered legal help to the students and journalists. An expert of TASZ emphasized that it was not against the law to continue protesting after a demonstration was officially over.
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