Budapest stages Hungary / Norway demo

AFP - [email protected] • 14 Sep, 2014 Updated Sun 14 Sep 2014 21:59 CEST
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Around 1,000 people took to the streets of Budapest at the weekend to protest against the government's crackdown on civil society, following police raids on two Norway-backed NGOs.

The searches at the Budapest-based Okotars Foundation and Demnet, which distribute grant aid to local campaign groups from Norway, took place on Monday. The Norwegian government called the police action "unacceptable".
Demonstrators in rainy, grey downtown Budapest called for an end to what they see as government intimidation of civil society groups.
"This was an attack on all Hungarian citizens," Marton Gulyas of Kretakor, another NGO under investigation, told the crowd.
Since June this year, 58 groups handling or receiving Norwegian aid have been forced to hand over documents and information in a wide-ranging probe ordered by Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government.
The government says some of the organisations supported by the Norway grants - including civil rights groups, corruption watchdogs and an investigative journalism website - are "tied to the political left-wing".
Police told AFP this week that Monday's raids were part of a probe "against unknown person(s) suspected of misappropriation of funds, and illegal financial activity", but gave no further details.
Norway and the civil society groups refute the claim that they have a political agenda.



AFP 2014/09/14 21:59

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