BUDAPEST: Hungarian students issued an ultimatum to the government on Tuesday, threatening continuous mass protests if it failed to meet their demands amid a month-long standoff over higher education reforms.
The government has until February 11 to respond to the demands or the students will launch regular nationwide rallies, Richard Barabas of the HH (Student's Network) organisation told independent Klub Radio.
"Our anger is totally justified," Barabas said. "We are trying to carry on a public, constructive and sensible dialogue with the government, but it seems we are banging our heads against the wall."
The students have had enough of "empty promises", he added.
Among other things, they want a return to the 2011 level of free university places, a halt to education budget cuts and the abolition of a requirement that those who receive grants must work in Hungary after graduation.
They also want the government to negotiate on the reforms with the new Higher Education Negotiation Forum (OFEF), which comprises students, professors and education sector trade union representatives.
"The government negotiates one-on-one with professors and the different student groups, it's a policy of 'divide and rule'," Barabas said.
"This is unacceptable and has caused us to issue our ultimatum," he said.
Thousands of Hungarian students joined a series of strikes, building occupations and sit-ins in December over the reforms, especially the reduction in the number of full university scholarships.