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Hungarian MPs forcibly removed from offices of state-run TV station

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By Rachael Kennedy
Hungarian MPs forcibly removed from offices of state-run TV station
Copyright  Facebook/ Szél Bernadett

Two Hungarian opposition MPs were forcibly removed from the offices of state-run broadcaster MTVA on Monday morning after demanding their five-point petition be read on-air.

The two politicians were among a group of opposition MPs who stayed overnight at the MTVA headquarters to ensure a recording of their petition would be broadcast.

However, MTVA said in a statement that it had filed a complaint with police after the MPs repeatedly ignored warnings from security about entering blocked areas, harassed employees and tried to blackmail the broadcaster.

"In the morning, the lawmakers again tried to enter the work areas," the statement read. "They regularly harassed the staff of MTVA, and they chased the workers along the corridors to work."

"Opposition politicians tried to blackmail MTVA that if they did not meet their wishes, thousands of angry people would 'come in' from the street."

Referring specifically to the two MPs, Bernadett Szél and Ákos Hadházy, that were forcibly removed from the building, MTVA said Hadházy had tried to enter sealed off working areas despite repeated warnings. He was "removed together with Bernadett Szél," the statement added.

Hadházy posted to Facebook shortly after being removed, saying he had "no words," and that "the event showed we were in the evil bastion of power."

Why are people protesting?

The MPs were among thousands of people protesting in Budapest on Sunday over a new law, nicknamed the 'slave law,' passed by the Hungarian government last Wednesday.

The new legislation allows employers to demand their employees work up to 400 hours of overtime per year, up from 250 hours. In perspective, this could mean employees work an extra eight hours per week, which is essentially an extra working day.

The protest in Budapest on Sunday evening moved from Heroes' Square to the MTVA headquarters, where the opposition MPs demanded their 5-point petition, which included a point against the new labour law, be broadcast.

The other four points on the list include demands for less overtime for police, an independent court system and independent public media, and to take part in the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office.