Thousands protest in Hungary to support teachers

STORY: Wednesday's rally, which started with students forming a chain stretching for miles across Budapest in the morning, grew into the biggest anti-government demonstration since nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban's April re-election.

“The absolute and infinite arrogance of the school district and the government, the way they react to all the teachers' protests, that they are unable to consult at any level, to listen to the cry for help of the teachers has led to this. Plus on top of these came the casus belli, the igniting fire, that two teachers were fired, and teachers received many threats. This is completely unacceptable, and absurd,” said Andras Farka, a university student.

Protesters carrying banners saying "Do not sack our teachers" and "For a glimpse of the future, look at the schools of the present" crammed a Budapest bridge near parliament, blocking traffic amid light police presence.

The demonstration continued into the evening, as the crowd rallied in front of the Hungarian parliament.

The country's teachers have launched an "I want to teach" campaign and called for civil disobedience to demand higher wages, and the right to strike, while trade unions had called a nationwide teachers' strike for Wednesday.

After a nationwide teachers' strike in January 2022, the government restricted strike action. Several teachers were dismissed last week at a Budapest secondary school for joining protest actions.