AS THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRISIS grinds on, parallels with the ‘Hungry ’30s’ seem to be appearing in many European countries. Hunger marches were well known in the U.K. during that era and they were recently resurrected in EU member Hungary. Demonstrators organised by the public employees’ union and the ‘Work! Bread! Fair Pay!’ pressure group set out from a dozen provincial towns to protest before parliament in Budapest. About a thousand marchers braved the snow to walk up to 300 kilometres. Imre Komjathi, chairman of the group, said protesters demanded that the government restore the minimum pay on its public works scheme to 60,200 forints (€202) compared to the minimum wage of 93,000 forints, institute fairer taxation and reverse changes to the labour code and welfare benefits made over the past two years. According to Nandor Gur, deputy leader of the opposition Socialist party, who set off on the walk with the protesters, there are 4 million Hungarians living below the poverty line. The National Food Bank says that without its help 210,000 families in Hungary would struggle to put food on the table, a 30% increase from last year.
However independent trade union LIGA criticised the Socialist party for using the most vulnerable people for political campaign purposes.
On the march to Budapest