Hungarian protesters fear the comprehensive control of the University of Art

Budapest Hundreds of Hungarians staged a protest Sunday against the planned reform of the prestigious Theater and Film Arts University, fearing that the school would be under government control.

The protesters, many of them university students and staff, actors, and writers, gave placards and lectures in front of the main building to condemn the planned changes.

Joseph Mate, a theater fan at the protest, said: "The government has already done a lot of damage to the Hungarian culture and we have to raise our voice on what they are going to do now."

A bill, introduced in parliament on May 26, will transfer ownership of a 155-year-old public company on a private basis.

The government argues that the new structure will make the country's most important institution more flexible and efficient for theater and film directors and actors, and will help the school more financially.

The government has already revived Carwynes University, a major school of economics, to continue to rebuild seven more schools.

The fact that the university is run by the Board of Trustees of Administration "not only reduces the state's influence on these schools but also eliminates it altogether," Prime Minister Staff Gurgali Gulias said Thursday.

But critics say the government appoints trustees and has the authority to appoint the head of the school transparently without consulting faculty or students.

The institute is "run by a foundation where the government can take full control of the university," the students' petition said.

Prime Minister Viktor Orb n has expanded his influence in most areas of central European country life during his decades of rule.

The European Union has long criticized policies that threaten the rule of law by imposing party control over the judiciary, the media, and educational institutions.

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