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Thousands Rally In Budapest To Protect Arts University

Protesters in Budapest carried torches and banners.

BUDAPEST -- Around 10,000 people have marched through the Hungarian capital to rally for the autonomy of the University of Theater and Film Arts (SZFE).

Students, retirees, and other protesters carried torches and banners with slogans like "Art is free" and "Free country, free university" on October 23, as the country celebrated the anniversary of its 1956 uprising against Soviet rule.

The march ended in front of the SZFE building that students have been occupying for weeks.

A sweeping overhaul ordered by right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the 155-year-old university is seen as the latest step in his attempt to reshape Hungary's public life to fit his own nationalist and culturally conservative agenda.

Students, Artists Protest Government's Takeover Of Famed Hungarian Film School
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The government forced a transfer of control of the public institution to a private foundation as of September 1 and a new board of trustees to guide key decisions at the storied SZFE.

The SZFE management and a number of top professors, including Enyedi, have resigned in protest of the government's move, while a group of students has been barricaded inside the university since September 1.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, and AFP
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