"Thousands of students Monday evening blocked a bridge over the Danube in Budapest in protest. In the morning, students in the country town of Szeged, 170 kilometers south of Budapest, which hosts a highly-ranked university, overtook the so-called government window at the local council where citizens seek to handle their errands with the state administration. The students chained themselves to objects in the office, demanding the government tell them what exactly the decision on tuition fees was about.
'[The current plan] is a no-go; we have the right to resist and to oppose, and to protect the rights of the current and to-be undergraduates and teachers. We’re calling everyone to act and stand up everywhere in the country,' the organizers of one of the demonstrations said on the Facebook site of the event in Szeged.
Students of ELTE, the largest university in the capital city of Budapest, are holding a demonstration and student groups on Facebook are inviting others to rally in other cities during the week. One student group wants to initiate a referendum once again to block the change.
Demonstrators at the ELTE event drafted a list of demands, including the re-instating of the number of state-subsidized places to the 2011 level; a stop to the decrease in financing and compensating the cuts so far; no restrictions of university autonomy; and a systemic overhaul in cooperation with those affected; and the abolishment of the so-called ‘undergraduate subsidy contract’ with the government.
The last point was an issue highlighted by the country’s ombudsman of civil rights and the European Commission. Since July 2012, the government requires state-subsidized graduates to work in Hungary during their first 20 years after graduation for at least twice the time they spent studying at a college or university. This is aimed at keeping Hungarian graduates in Hungary. If they fail to spend these years working in Hungary, they have to pay back the tuition fee to the state."