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100,000 Protesters Rally in Hungary Against Proposed Internet Tax

Image: Thousands of demonstrators light up their mobile phones as they march across the River Danube
Thousands of demonstrators light up their mobile phones as they march across the River Danube as they protest against an internet tax planned to be introduced by the Hungarian government for the second time in two days in front of the Ministry of National Economy in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. Laszlo Beliczay / MTI via AP

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BUDAPEST, Hungary - About 100,000 Hungarians rallied to protest a planned tax on data traffic and the broader course of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government which they saw as undermining democracy and relations with European Union peers. Tuesday's rally was by far the largest protest since Orban's center-right government took power in 2010 and pursued moves to redefine many walks of life, drawing accusations of creeping authoritarianism.

Orban's government has imposed special taxes on the banking, retail, energy and telecommunications sectors to keep the budget deficit in check, jeopardizing profits in some parts of the economy and unnerving international investors. The Internet data levy idea was first floated in the 2015 tax code submitted to the Central European country's parliament last week, triggering objections from Internet service providers and users who felt it was anti-democratic. Many protesters held up makeshift signs that read "ERROR!" and "How many times do you want to skin us?" The Orban government denied any anti-democratic agenda, saying it aimed only to get all economic sectors to share the tax burden.

- Reuters

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