Europe

Hungary: Thousands protest govt's education, NGO policies

  • People gather to protest in Heroes Square in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday April 12, 2017. Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Hungary to oppose government policies that are seen as limiting academic freedom and intimidating civic groups that receive foreign funding. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

    People gather to protest in Heroes Square in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday April 12, 2017. Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Hungary to oppose government policies that are seen as limiting academic freedom and intimidating civic groups that receive foreign funding. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • People gather to protest in Heroes Square in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday April 12, 2017. Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Hungary to oppose government policies that are seen as limiting academic freedom and intimidating civic groups that receive foreign funding. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

    People gather to protest in Heroes Square in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday April 12, 2017. Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Hungary to oppose government policies that are seen as limiting academic freedom and intimidating civic groups that receive foreign funding. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Hungary to oppose government policies that are seen as limiting academic freedom and intimidating civic groups that receive foreign funding.

Recent amendments to the country's higher education law are viewed as an attack on a Budapest university founded by Hungarian-born American financier George Soros.

Lawmakers will soon debate a proposal from Prime Minister Viktor Orban's governing Fidesz party to force non-governmental groups that receive more than 7.2 million forints ($24,450) a year from abroad to register with authorities.

Wednesday's rally overflowed from Heroes Square, a Budapest landmark. Student Flora Fekete said she attended because "I don't want the government to follow the Vladimir Putin model for Hungarian society."

Soros' "open society" ideal contrasts with Orban's plan to make Hungary an "illiberal state."