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Thousands March In Budapest In Support of Soros-Funded CEU

Thousands March In Hungary To Support Soros-Founded University
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Thousands of people have marched in Hungary's capital to protest against legislation that could result in the closure of the Central European University (CEU), a prominent Budapest institution founded by U.S. financier and philanthropist George Soros.

The demonstrators marching on April 2 said the bill, due to be discussed by parliament this week, was an attack on freedom of education.

Many Hungarians and leading academics, including 17 Nobel laureates, have expressed support for the CEU, which Soros founded in 1991.

The university enrolls over 1,400 students from more than 100 countries.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long criticized the Hungarian-born Soros for allegedly interfering in politics in Eastern and Central Europe.

Orban said last week that the CEU had violated regulations in awarding its diplomas, an allegation that the university says is false.

The CEU says it operates lawfully and is accredited to award Hungarian and U.S. degrees.

The U.S. State Department on March 31 said it was "concerned" about the proposed legislation and urged Budapest to "avoid taking any legislative action that would compromise CEU's operations or independence."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP