Protesters in Hungary block Budapest bridge in anti-government rally

Demonstrators block the Elisabeth Bridge, near Budapest's Parliament building, as they protest against the Orban government's planned tax changes. PHOTO: AFP

BUDAPEST (AFP) - Hundreds of protesters blocked a downtown Budapest bridge on Thursday (July 14) for the third day in a row in a rally against a tax change by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government.

The protests are the first since Orban won re-election by a landslide in April.

The protesters oppose the scrapping of a popular tax bracket, approved by parliament on Tuesday, and say it will hurt hundreds of thousands of small-sized business owners.

Thursday's turnout was lower than Wednesday when several thousand people demonstrated but protesters have blocked the Elisabeth Bridge for three consecutive days.

"(Orban's party) Fidesz needed 100 days to prove that all its words were lies," Peter Marki-Zay, who headed a united opposition but lost against Orban, told protesters.

The central European country already faces soaring inflation and a plunging local currency amid talks with Brussels over held-up EU funding.

Inflation has hit double figures in recent months for the first time in 20 years, despite a range of price caps fixed by Orban.

Orban has ruled Hungary since 2010, chipping away at media freedom and other civil liberties, according to his critics.

Demonstrators block the Elisabeth Bridge as they protest against the Orban government's proposed amendment to taxation legislation. PHOTO: AFP

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