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Opposition parties and civil groups staged demonstrations to protest against recent changes to the labour code in several Hungarian cities last weekend.

In Pécs, in southern Hungary, LMP co-leader László Lóránt Keresztes said that “the ruling parties have now rejected all they used to promote… and have sold out the country’s independence to the Russians”. Balázs Nemes, local leader of the Momentum Movement, told some 500 participants that “this is our homeland and we won’t let them steal it… 2019 will be a year for resistance”.

The protesters demanded that the government should be ousted, and marched to the city centre carrying the national colours, the flag of the European Union as well as the red and white stripes associated with the extreme right.

Some 250 people demonstrated in Szombathely, in western Hungary, where LMP’s Gábor Vágó spoke in his address about “unprecedented corruption” in government circles. Local Democratic Coalition deputy Tímea Glázer said that “they should have spent a lot more money on hospitals rather than on sports stadiums”.

The protesters walked to the local office of ruling Fidesz, and left a large sign that read “We are not slaves” across its windows.

In Szolnok, in central Hungary, some 300 people gathered to protest against the new labour code rules. Addressing the event Momentum board member Katalin Cseh described 2019 as a year of resistance.

Some 250 demonstrators gathering in front of the city hall of Debrecen promised to join the nationwide protests announced for January 19. The event was addressed by representatives of the opposition Socialists, Jobbik, LMP, Momentum parties and trade unions. The speakers demanded that the “slave law” should be withdrawn and former Debrecen mayor Lajos Kósa should leave public life.