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Unrest in Eastern Europe

romania‘Public outrage day’ brought ten thousand Hungarians to the streets on Monday to demand the resignation of the prime minister, believing he employs corrupt officials and is too close to Russia.

In the Czech Republic, thousands protested against their prime minister, who they see as too sympathetic to Russia.

Poland entered a squabble with Russia, sending home a Russian envoy and then finding four of its diplomats expelled from Russia.

In Romania, the opposition centre-right candidate won the presidential election, vowing to tackle corruption in what is one of the most corrupt states in the EU.

The Hungarian demonstrators called for Prime Minister Viktor Orban to resign in what has been called “public outrage day”. They also demanded the sacking of six officials, including the head of the tax authority, on grounds of corruption.

The six had already been refused entry to the US in October because of their alleged corruption links.

The demonstrators also accused Orban of becoming more authoritarian, and of moving away from the EU towards Russia, and demanded greater government accountability.

Protests took place across Hungary as well as in London, Berlin and Stockholm.

This was the fourth demonstration in the last 30 days, the largest of which was against a proposed internet tax which was subsequently withdrawn.

Despite the protests, Prime Minister Orban remains popular in the country and had been re-elected in April.

Thousands of citizens of the Czech Republic rose up on the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, saying that President Milon Zeman, a former Communist, was too close to Russia and China.

He shocked people by defending Russia’s stance on the Ukraine and by saying he wished to learned how China "stabilised" its society.

Many believe he is ignoring the certain aims of the revolution.

The commemoration of the 17 November 1989 revolution which ended communist rule was to be a solemn occasion, but Mr Zeman was instead jeered and pelted with eggs.

Mr Zeman still has the support of many voters.

Four Polish diplomats were given 48 hours to leave Russia as a result of spying allegations following the expulsion of a Russian diplomat from Warsaw. Russia said the four were expelled for "activities incompatible with their status".

Polish officials said initially that a Russian diplomat had been expelled for contact with a Polish army colonel who was arrested last month on suspicion of spying. They said the diplomat had been working for Russia's GRU military intelligence.

Russia is also involved in a spying row with Germany, throwing out one of its envoys in response to a similar decision in Berlin.

The annexation of Crimea and the unrest in Ukraine have brought worsening relationships with Russia and the EU and the US as well as Nato, which Poland joined in 1999.

Poland has called for tougher EU sanctions on Russia.

A surprise election result in Romania has brought ethnic German Klaus Iohannis to the presidency.

The ethnic German minority has been in Romania since the 12th century, although the majority left after the 1989 fall of communism.

In addition to tackling corruption, Mr Iohannis, 55, promised in his election campaign to strengthen the independence of the judicial system.

Romania is the second poorest country in the EU after Bulgaria.

Expat Romanians swung the vote after thousands thronged polling stations in London, Paris, Munich, Milan and other cities.

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