(Reuters) – About 100,000 Hungarians rallied on Tuesday night to protest at a planned tax on data traffic and the broader course of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government they saw as undermining democracy and relations with European Union peers.
The Internet data levy idea was first floated in the 2015 tax code submitted to the Central European country’s parliament last week, triggering objections from Internet service providers and users who felt it was anti-democratic.
The crowd, which was organized by a Facebook-based social network and appeared to draw mostly well-heeled professionals, marched through central Budapest demanding the repeal of the planned tax and the ouster of Orban.
Many protesters held up makeshift signs that read “ERROR!” and “How many times do you want to skin us?”
Zsolt Varady, an internet entrepreneur and founder of a now-defunct Hungarian social network iwiw.hu, told the crowd that the tax threatened to undermine Internet freedoms. She said the internet was vital for her to get the books she needs for her studies but also to read unbiased news that is not under the control of Hungary’s ruling political elite.[reuters]