BUDAPEST, Hungary — Tens of thousands of protesters on Monday jeered Hungarian leaders outside a glitzy gala to mark the country's brand new constitution, accusing the government of exerting control over everything from the media, to the economy and religion.
A diverse crowd chanted, whistled and hoisted placards outside the State Opera as Prime Minister Viktor Orban and guests celebrated inside. Many protesters called the premier the "Viktator."
"The prime minister took an oath to defend the constitution, but instead he overthrew it," Laszlo Majtenyi, a former head of the media authority, told the crowd on Andrassy Avenue.
Opposition activists and civil rights groups say Orban and his center-right Fidesz party have passed laws eroding the democratic system of checks and balances by increasing political control over the judiciary, the central bank, religious groups and the media. President Pal Schmitt insisted Hungarians could be proud of their new constitution, which he said was long overdue and should have been adopted after the fall of communism.