Hungarian teachers hold walkout to protest education policy

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hundreds of teachers across Hungary have walked out of class for one hour, demanding changes to official policies, including cutting bureaucratic tasks, allowing greater choice in textbooks, more funds for education and reducing students' mandatory school time.

Demonstrators outside Teleki Blanka Gymnasium formed a human chain around the block, which protest leader and school principal Istvan Pukli said was to "show that we won't allow this public education system to take our school apart."

The government has promised to decentralize the schools' administration and reduce curriculum contents but wants protesting teachers to join the official forum for debating reforms, which protesters consider illegitimate.

The walkout held early Wednesday morning was labeled by organizers as an act of civil disobedience because teachers and other public employees have very restricted strike options.