After police arrested dozens of demonstrators who tried to storm the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest earlier this week, the country’s ruling Fidesz Party has blamed socialist lawmakers and liberal billionaire George Soros - whose "Open Society Foundation" was recently driven out of the country by a series of laws penalizing foreign interlopers in Hungarian politics - for stoking civil unrest in response to reforms to labor laws and the country’s judiciary that were recently passed by parliament.
Since the laws passed Parliament on Tuesday despite opposition lawmakers’ attempts to stymie the vote with harassment tactics (one lawmaker even blocked the speaker’s podium in an attempt to stop the vote), police in Budapest have struggled to repel large crowds of demonstrators. Some of the protesters have even put on masks despite organizers of the demonstration asking participants not to cover their face.
Police responded to the increasingly violent demonstration with tear gas and defensive tactics after being pelted with eggs, beer cans, and sound grenades, leaving five officers injured. According to News Wars, Socialist Party leader Bertalan Toth is facing fines after trolling Prime Minister Viktor Orban on the floor of parliament. Toth told reporters that he organized the protest action.
MUST WATCH: As the National Assembly of Hungary descends into chaos, opposition MP Bence Tordai rolls up on PM Orban and trolls him to his face. This is unprecedented. Orban is visibly uncomfortable. He was not counting on this. #Hungary pic.twitter.com/C8XCKN9A6G— Benjamin Novak (@b_novak) December 12, 2018
Fidesz said in a statement that the opposition "made clowns of themselves" by "colluding" with Soros in a desperate attempt to stop the vote.
"The opposition, in a hopeless position, made clowns of themselves in Parliament, acting aggressively and colluding with the Soros organizations that organized violent street protests," Fidesz said in a statement. "The point of the labor code amendment is to ensure that those who want to work and earn more don’t face bureaucratic obstacles."
The more controversial of the two laws passed has been nicknamed the "Slave Law" by those who oppose it. It allows employers to circumvent unions and make deals with employees to work up to 400 hours of overtime a year. Another law created a new federal court to handle cases related to business and employment.
Judges on that court will be selected by the country’s Justice Minister, which has elicited criticism that Fidesz is trying to subvert the country’s justice system to cement its "authoritarian" rule. However, Fidesz remains incredibly popular in Hungary, and won an overwhelming parliamentary victory in elections earlier this year.