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Thousands Rally Outside Hungary's State TV In Fifth Night Of Protests

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Hungary's 'Slave Law' Protests
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WATCH: Hungary's "Slave Law" Protests

Thousands of demonstrators have rallied outside Hungary's state TV broadcaster in a fifth night of protests against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Demonstrators on December 17 chanted slogans like "We won't leave" and "They are lying day and night!"

Two lawmakers were thrown out of the building after they tried to broadcast a petition against Orban, who has overseen a steady tightening of power over Hungary's courts, media, and much of the country's political system.

Independent deputies Bernadette Szel and Akos Hadhazy, who were seeking to read a petition live on air, were dragged out of the building on December 17 after they tried to circumvent security guards.

Szel streamed the incident live on Facebook.

The petition called for the withdrawal of what they called the government's "slave laws" and for independent public media and courts.

The two lawmakers were among about a dozen members of parliament who spent the night at the offices of Hungary's main news channel, MTVA, trying to get a list of demands broadcast on air.

The protests are some of the largest in months, and erupted after passage of a new labor law that in essence enables the return of a six-day work week.

But protesters have also been demanding more be done to fight government corruption, to create an independent judiciary, and protect independent media.

"We will continue with protests all the while our demands are not read out over state media. We are not going anywhere," Timea Szabo, a parliament member for the small, centrist party, told the crowd.

The government has defended the new labor law, saying it will ease the shortage of workers, most especially in the booming auto and manufacturing sectors.

Orban's allies have denounced the protests as the work of liberal groups financed by Hungarian-American financier George Soros, who has been a regular target of Orban.

With reporting by the BBC and Reuters
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