BUDAPEST — Hungarians rallied on Saturday against the appointment of far-rightists to direct a Budapest theatre, a move which has triggered international protests.
"We see an unfortunate crossing of borders here which is unacceptable," actor and organiser Mihaly Hajagos told a crowd of several thousand including local actress Dorka Gryllus, known from Dan Garbarski's "Irina Palm".
"Gyorgy Dorner and Istvan Csurka are of such extreme and hateful convictions" that they are unsuitable to head the capital's New Theatre, Hajagos said.
Protesters called on Budapest mayor Istvan Tarlos and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to withdraw the appointments and reopen applications for the jobs.
Tarlos, a member of Orban's ruling centre-right Fidesz party, nominated Dorner as the new director of the theatre, even though outgoing boss Istvan Marta had reapplied for the job and received a majority of votes from a professional board.
Dorner then named as his administrator Csurka, the leader of MIEP, a party with a xenophobic and anti-Semitic reputation.
The appointment was slammed by opposition parties and led German conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi to cancel on Friday upcoming concerts in Budapest's opera house.
Dohnanyi said he was unwilling to perform in a city "the mayor of which entrusts the management of a theatre to two known anti-Semites of the extreme right".
In July, Tarlos had already picked somebody close to the government to head the Attila Jozsef theatre, over a candidate preferred by the theatre world.
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