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Student protestors in Hungary demand academic freedom for top arts University

Several thousand students protested on Sunday for the independence of Hungary’s University of Theatre and Film Arts following what they see as a takeover of their school by the autocratic government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Protestors took to the university’s various buildings holding signs saying, “We stand for the freedom of our university.”

On Monday, many members of the school’s management resigned in protest, which included many of Hungary’s most famous directors and filmmakers.

One demonstrator, Marta Barbarics commented saying, “if a university cannot teach in a way as its citizens deem appropriate then there are serious problems and the leadership of a university does not quit for no reason.”

However, many of Prime Minister Orban’s supporters have long argued that it was time for a culture shift away from what they call the domination of the arts in Hungary by liberals and left-wingers.

Many of the protestors were angered at Prime Minister Orban's new legislation which imposed a government-appointed board to the university forcing the university to hew more closely to Orban’s nationalistic and conservative vision for Hungary.

70 to 100 student protestors have barricaded the university building stating they would not dismantle their barricade until the university’s new board meet their demands for institutional autonomy.

Read more from the New York Times and Reuters

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