Tuesday. 21.05.2024

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban launched his election campaign on Saturday with an incendiary speech about the European Union (EU), addressed to tens of thousands of his supporters.

The institutions of the European Union want to tell the citizens of Hungary and Poland how to live, Orban said.

He said Europe's "high dignitaries wanted to beat Hungarians into Europeans, liberals" and sensitize them to sexual diversity.

He called on Hungarians to stand up for their homeland, family, culture and the freedom of everyday life. "When the time comes, stand in front of your homes and defend them!" Orban said.

Orban, who has been in power for almost 12 years, is campaigning for re-election in the country's parliamentary elections in spring.

Critics, including various EU bodies, accuse Orban of dismantling democracy in Hungary as well as overseeing pervasive corruption and disregarding the rule of law.

Conflict with the EU

Budapest is locked in conflict with the EU over a series of issues including rule of law in Hungary.

Participants at Orban's rally were brought to central Budapest from all over the country as well as from Romania, Poland and Italy. The city streets were lined with hundreds of buses.

Hungarians were celebrating a bank holiday on Saturday, marking the popular uprising against communist rule that broke out on 23 October 1956 and was violently suppressed by Soviet troops a few days later.

Orban opens election campaign with incendiary speech about Brussels