Thousands of Hungarian students rally against government

BUDAPEST Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:45pm EST

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Thousands of students rallied on Wednesday against the Hungarian government's planned sharp cuts in state-financed places at universities, blocking peak traffic on one of the main bridges in Budapest in freezing weather.

The students, who staged the second spontaneous protest march through the Hungarian capital this week, are demanding that the government give up its plans to cut funding to higher education and start a public dialogue about the reforms.

The peaceful protest march, which started with a meeting at Budapest's University of Technology and Economics, continued into the evening, guarded by police who have not interfered.

"The government prepares to introduce tuition, as this is not simply about the fact that they are reducing the number of places ... this means cutting financing to higher education and reducing the autonomy of universities," David Kiss, a student leader told the crowd.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government announced the planned cuts in higher education last week.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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