Thousands of Hungarians took to the streets on December 13 to protest against Prime Minister Viktor Orban and a controversial round of reforms nicknamed “slave laws” that significantly alter the country’s rules on overtime work hours.
The new legislation increases the amount of annual overtime that employers can demand from staff from 250 to 400 hours and also gives companies the opportunity to delay overtime pay to workers up to three years.
More than 2,000 people gathered in central Budapest and were confronted riot police who fired tear gas into the crowd and began beating several of the protesters. At least 35 people have been arrested.
Orban has insisted that the changes “remove bureaucratic rules so that those who want to work and earn more can do so”.
The clashes occurred only one day after Orban, who has long hoped to establish one-man rule in Hungary modelled on Vladimir Putin‘s Russia, stripped the supreme court of its authority over all administrative disputes, including cases that involve elections, corruption, taxes and police abuses.
The move creates a new court overseen by the country’s justice minister, an Orban appointee.