Different news agencies report that there were between 100,000 and 250,000 people at the Government's rally, while at the opposition's (Milla) rally only 30,000 to maximum 100,000 were present (AFP).
Boulevards were emptied of cars as the city transformed into a patchwork of fervent and sometimes volatile protests. In front of the neo-Gothic parliament building, skirting the edge of the Danube River, was the pro-government rally featuring headliner Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. A mile south of Parliament, past a boardwalk lined with tables of foot-long pretzels doused in sugar, and perched at the foot of the chalk-white Elisabeth Bridge, was the main opposition's demonstration run by the civic group "Milla" (which stands for "One Million for Press Freedom in Hungary"). And in the center of one of the city's main intersections, the radical, far-right Jobbik Party set up a small stage flanked by a 12-foot high television screen.
Speaking to a crowd estimated at 100,000 people by Hungarian media and at 250,000 by state news wire MTI, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán defended his government's policies and demanded fair treatment from the EU in front of the Parliament at a celebration of Hungary's national holiday on March 15, marking the 164th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1848 revolution and war of independence against the Habsburg rule. "We won't be a colony," Orbán said. "Hungarians won't live according to the commands of foreign powers, they wont give up their independence or their freedom." Several thousand Poles attended Fidesz's March 15th celebrations at Kossuth tér; their trip was promoted by Polish conservative weekly Gazeta Polska.
In another part of Budapest, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the government at a protest organized by grassroots civil organizations and student groups. An opposition protest drew tens of thousands of Hungarians angry with Orbán and his Fidesz party's legislative agenda. The demonstration was organized by the group One Million for the Hungarian Freedom of the Press (Milla for short). Speakers called on the government to guarantee media freedom and observe EU norms. The Democratic Coalition was attended by several thousands of people in the heart of the city. Speakers at the radical Jobbik party's rally, held at Deák tér, advocated leaving the EU.
Source: Budapest Business Journal, foreignpolicy.com