Photo: MTI

Demonstration held for child protection in Budapest Heroes’ Square

Civil groups organised a demonstration in support of victims of child abuse and for "a healthy society" at Heroes' Square in downtown Budapest on Friday evening.

The demonstration was organised by online content creators, saying they considered it important to speak out for the protection of victims, transparency, human decency and honest social dialogue.

Activist Marton Gulyas of the YouTube channel Partizan thanked those attending the demonstration for standing up for victims and a child protection reform.

Influencer Zsolt Osvath of the channel ZSHOW Time, who mentioned that he, too, had grown up in a children’s home, said he wanted to raise awareness of “systemic problems … of which the clemency case is just the tip of the iceberg”. He said an institute will never be able to fill the void left by the absence of a family, but the state had to do everything possible to mitigate that absence.

Osvath said he was not there to “topple the government or call on ministers to resign”. “Though it matters who makes the decisions, but right now those whom the decisions are made for are far more important,” he said. “We won’t be silent,” he said, praising the investigative work that had exposed the director of a children’s home of having the children who were entrusted to his care. “And then another monster tried to convince the victims to say that they lied,” he said.

YouTuber Marton Szabo asked what the government would do to make sure that children in institutional care grow up in humane conditions, to make sure they get a quality education, and to make sure they have somewhere to turn if they are abused.

Singer Azahriah (Attila Bauko) addressed the event in a video message, saying that the government “was using parents’ concern to incite against something, which is then converted into political gain”.

He called for improving the safety of children. “It’s time to wake up,” he said, calling for change through joining together.

Digital content creator Orsi Tapaszto, who spoke as an adoptive parent, said some 7,000 children in Hungary were living in children’s homes, most of whom will never be taken in by a family. She thanked children’s home teachers for teaching children how to love and giving them back the ability to trust. She asked decision-makers to ensure that all children in institutional care can live in safety.

Influencer Eszter Fancsikai said she agreed with the prime minister that people who abuse children should be “cut into pieces”, but if she did that as a mother, it would be considered vigilante justice. That is why there is a need for real child protection and a well-functioning legal system, she added.

YouTuber Edina Pottyondy, former board member of the Momentum party, criticsed the absence of an independent investigation into the decision behind the president’s pardon. She said real child protection would be the improvement of education, the social and health-care sectors and child protection authorities. She called for a child protection law that protected victims.

“This demonstration won’t change the world, but it can change people’s mentality,” she said.

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