Demonstration against the introduction of the new kata-law in Budapest - Photo: MTI

Protesters block Margaret Bridge

Demonstrators protesting changes to the Itemised Tax for Small Businesses (kata) and caps on household energy bills blocked Margaret Bridge in Budapest on Monday morning.

The few hundred demonstrators, most of whom arrived by bicycle or scooter wearing the shirts and backpacks of food delivery companies, first filled only the outer lanes of the bridge, before blocking the entire bridge from the Pest side near Jaszai Mari Square by 8am, MTI’s correspondent reported.

Budapest police (BRFK) said on their website that traffic going onto Margaret Bridge would be diverted.

Cars that were already on the bridge before it was fully blocked by the protesters were able to turn around on the tram tracks. The sidewalks and bicycle paths on the bridge remained accessible.

Budapest police said on its website at 9am that the event announced to police in advance had ended while the demonstrators were still blocking the entire bridge. Police afterwards instructed the demonstrators to clear the tram tracks and the road. A group of protesters meanwhile left the bridge in the direction of Nyugati Railway Station and the Oktogon junction on the Pest side.

MTI’s onsite correspondent said that groups of police officers moved onto the bridge from both ends and cleared demonstrators from the road and herded them onto the sidewalk. They also pulled some protesters from the crowd.

Budapest police said at 11am that vehicle traffic had resumed on the bridge in both directions.

They later said that “police took into custody five people who had refused to move to the sidewalk despite repeated calls to do so”.

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