I'll cap internet tax, says Hungarian PM as mob attacks his party HQ
Angry demonstrators vow not to rest until entire idea is binned
Following a protest by tens of thousands of people on Sunday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has promised to cap a proposed new internet tax.
The new tax, which is due to come into effect from the beginning of 2015, sparked widespread outrage after it was presented last Tuesday.
Consisting of a charge of 150 forints (£0.38, €0.50) per gigabyte of traffic, the tax would be charged to internet service providers. However, users fear the cost of the tax will be passed onto them.
Sunday's protest quickly spiralled into a more general anti-government demonstration, as Bloomberg noted.
“Those who use the internet see more of the world, that’s why the government doesn’t want a free internet,” said lead protest organiser Balazs Gulyas. Demonstrators reportedly damaged windows, pushed over a fence and climbed up the Fidesz (Hungary's ruling party) headquarters building.
As a result of the protest Orban promised to cap the new tax at 700 forints (£1.78, €2.26) per month. This has not appeased the protesters, who said that demonstrations will resume if the law introducing the tax is not dropped completely by Tuesday.
"I continue to support peaceful demonstration – this tax will not work, will not help Hungary get digital, and it part of a bigger pattern of problems. Now is the time for people to make their voice heard," said the EU's Digital Agenda Commissioner “Steelie” Neelie Kroes.
“It is as nonsensical as to tax people for not using enough information, but this tax suits the purposes of those who least want truth to be heard,” added privacy expert Caspar Bowden.
Hungary already has a tax on voice calls and text messages, capped at 700 forints (£1.78, €2.27) a month for individuals and 2,500 forints (£12.81, €16.26) for companies. ®