Large rally in Hungary for imperiled Soros-founded school

Protesters in Budapest

Participants walk during the rally, organized by the Freedom for Education movement, called CEU Now, Who’s Next – Protest For The Free Education , in downtown Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, April 2, 2017. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

Thousands of people marched in Hungary’s capital on Sunday to protest proposed legal changes that are seen as targeting a Budapest university founded by billionaire Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros.

Many Hungarian and international scholars and institutions have expressed support for Central European University. The school, founded by Soros in 1991, enrolls over 1,400 students from 108 countries.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban considers Soros an ideological foe whose “open society” ideal contrasts with his own efforts to turn Hungary into an “illiberal state.”

Organizers said some 10,000 people participated in the march, which started at Corvinus University and ended outside Parliament.

Corvinus professor Daniel Deak said the protest was an attempt to defend CEU from the government attack.

The new rules are “a shot coming from the Hungarian government against all Hungarian universities,” Deak said. “We strongly request freedom for academia and autonomy for universities.”


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