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Hungary: Internet tax angers protesters

Hungary: Internet tax angers protesters
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Thousands gathered in central Budapest on Sunday to protest against government plans to tax internet usage.

What began as a peaceful rally later became heated with scores of demonstrators hurling computer parts at ruling party Fidesz headquarters.

Opponents to the tax claim it will restrict access to information, particularly in poor areas, cripple small businesses, and will restrict government critics who mainly use online media.

Police later tried to clear the area and arrested six people in the process.

Several taking part described the tax as ‘the latest anti-democratic measure by premier Viktor Orban.’

“It is not only because of the internet tax,” said one woman, “but we are also fed up with the government, we are fed up with stealing and corruption.”

Demonstration organiser Balázs Gulyás addressed the crowd saying:

“You don’t let yourselves be torn from the world, this tax indeed tears Hungary from the world, the technical development and thousands of jobs will be in danger with this, and the entire economy.”

The government claims the tax – the equivalent of 50 centimes on each transferred gigabyte of data – was needed to plug holes in the 2015 budget.

A new proposal to cap monthly payments to 2.3 euros for individuals failed to calm protester anger.