Budapest, Hungary. Large numbers of protestors took to the streets to support George Soros university in Budapest today, early reports show the demonstrations were not so much as against the university as liberal democratic opponents of Hungary’s anti-globalist Prime Minister Orban.
Tens of thousands of people have protested in Budapest against legislation that could force the Central European University, founded by the financier George Soros, to move out of Hungary.
A bill passed in parliament by the ruling Fidesz party of the prime minister, Viktor Orbán, a critic of liberal civil organisations funded by Soros, targeted CEU by setting out numerous conditions under which it must operate. The bill has led to criticism by the US government and EU.
Orbán’s view that European culture faces a threat from migration and multiculturalism is at odds with Soros’ outlook. The prime minister has often said NGOs are doing the bidding of the billionaire investor. His party points to color revolutions he has organized in Ukraine, Belorussia, and recent demonstrations inside Russia that have been sponsored by Soros NGOs.
The CEU rector, Michael Ignatieff, said the school will continue operations as normal and demanded that the law be scrapped and additional international guarantees of academic freedoms be added to current legal safeguards.
The US state department will send diplomats to Budapest next week to address the CEU crisis, said Ignatieff, who spent several days in Washington to lobby the US government, lawmakers and media.This in turn confirmed for many that Soros operation is more a part of the US government’s attempts to control Hungary, than actually a real part of Hungary’s accademic community.