Budapest - Thousands of Hungarians protested on Sunday against changes to the constitution approved by parliament last week despite domestic and international concern that the move would undermine democracy.
Last Monday parliament, dominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's centre-right Fidesz party, voted to limit the powers of the constitutional court. This prompted criticism from the European Union, of which Hungary is a member, the United States and human rights groups.
Orban has dismissed arguments that the changes to the constitution are anti-democratic, saying there was no evidence of any breach of EU rules.
But the 3 000 protesters who turned up in central Budapest on Sunday in the freezing cold thought otherwise.
“On March 17, 2013 Hungary is not a dictatorship yet. But there is already an applicant for the job,” Laszlo Majtenyi, a former ombudsman and eminent lawyer told the crowd.