Budapest rocked by second night of protests over ‘slave law’

Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Budapest for a second night over the passing of a series of bills that critics argue will cement Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s grip on power. Orban’s right-wing party Fidesz pushed through legislation on Wednesday that allows employers to demand up to 400 hours’ overtime annually and the … Continue reading “Budapest rocked by second night of protests over ‘slave law’”

Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Budapest for a second night over the passing of a series of bills that critics argue will cement Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s grip on power.

Orban’s right-wing party Fidesz pushed through legislation on Wednesday that allows employers to demand up to 400 hours’ overtime annually and the creation of a new government-controlled court system, sparking protests and clashes with police. Thousands returned to Hungarian capital’s streets on Thursday night to intensify their objections to what has been dubbed the “slave law.”

    Angry protesters marched across Budapest’s Széchenyi Chain Bridge with banners reading “Free Country, Free University” and “To prison with this gang of thieves” before the sea of angry people caused traffic chaos on nearby streets. The protests follow two recent legislative initiatives by Orban: one that allows employers to force employees to work more overtime, the other the creation of a parallel courts system known as administrative courts to deal with cases related to corruption and free speech, among other issues. On the steps of parliament, scores of police officers in riot gear blocked the building’s entrance as demonstrators assembled before them, waving flags and colored smoke flares while chanting “Orban go to hell” and “We have had enough,” Reuters reported.Read More”One thing is the issue of the courts, which is the next phase of cementing their power, one phase towards building total power,” protester Tamaz Szabo told the news agency. “I’ve come to show a huge middle finger to the government and express that I am really, really fed up and I think most people are here for this,” said another student protester, Adam, who declined to give Reuters his surname.Riot police spray tear gas at demonstrators outside parliament on Thursday night. Hungarian law previously permitted businesses to demand up to 250 hours overtime annually. The government told CNN this week the changes to working hours are “in the interest of the workers” and would allow people to work and earn more. Meanwhile, human rights workers have slammed the establishment of a parallel court system that will be tasked with government-related matters such as taxes and elections. They argue that the courts — which are set to begin operating next year and are expected to oversee the hiring of judges, will bring the country yet another step closer to authoritarianism. Demonstrators hold position in front of policemen wearing gas masks.”There is no real argument behind the law, this is simply a political decision that aims to extend the government’s control over the judiciary,” said Dávid Vig, director of Amnesty International Hungary, in a statement.”It is no surprise though, it fits well into the series of measures taken by the Hungarian government to erode rule of law in Hungary,” he added.Orban’s government has denied these claims, saying the courts will be independent and “in line with current European approaches and standards.”Since Orban’s populist Fidesz Party rose to power in 2010, and most recently won a landslide victory in April this year, it has come under increasing fire from the European Union over its crackdowns on democratic institutions.Earlier this year, the European Parliament took the unprecedented decision to trigger Article 7 — a disciplinary process — against Hungary over its erosion of democratic norms that spanned everything from the media to migrants.George Soros-backed university 'forced out' of HungaryThe move came on the heels of Hungary’s “Stop Soros” law — named after the billionaire philanthropist and well-known Orban foe George Soros — that banned nongovernmental organizations from assisting undocumented migrants.On December 3, Central European University, which was founded by Soros, said it had been “forced out” of Hungary in “an arbitrary eviction.”

      Orban’s anti-migrant policies, which have been blasted by the EU, have proved particularly popular in rural Hungary.The PM has also found allies in Poland, which is facing its own disciplinary process from the EU, and with Italy’s similarly hardline interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

Jewish cemetery outside Strasbourg vandalized

Tombstones and a Holocaust memorial in a Jewish cemetery outside Strasbourg, France, were vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti earlier this week.

The vandalism was discovered Tuesday at the Herrlisheim Jewish cemetery hours before a gunman opened fire in Strasbourg’s Christmas market, killing four people and wounding 13. Police killed the suspect Thursday evening, authorities said.It’s not known whether the vandalism and the attack were connected.

    Thirty-seven tombstones were desecrated with spray-painted Nazi swastikas and other graffiti.French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, center, attends a ceremony at the Jewish cemetery of Herrlisheim with Strasbourg Rabbi Harold Weill, right, and Herrlisheim Mayor Louis Becker, second from right.French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attended a ceremony Friday at the cemetery and decried the vandalism.Read More”When a place of recollection is desecrated, the whole republic is defiled,” he tweeted Friday. “I came this morning to support the Jewish community and all the inhabitants of Herrlisheim after the anti-Semitic and xenophobic degradations committed in this Israelite cemetery.”Everything is being done to identify and catch the authors of this profane act. I have full confidence in the police, which is conducting forensic investigations. These heinous acts cannot remain unpunished.”Strasbourg shooting suspect killed by police, Paris authorities sayThe Israelite Consistory (or consortium) of Bas-Rhin, the section of France where the vandalism occurred, issued a statement that referenced vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union in 2015.

      “While the graves of the Sarre-Union cemetery, desecrated in 2015, are still down, this new hateful act only amplifies the feeling of exasperation of the Jewish community in the face of growing anti-Semitism.”The Consistory launches a solemn appeal to the authorities and particularly to the President of the Republic so that effective and pragmatic measures are taken to ensure the security of the property and people of the Jewish community, and that this plague that is gangrenous to our society ceases,” the statement said.

The Latest: Brazil causes roadblocks at UN climate talks

KATOWICE, Poland – The Latest on the U.N. climate talks in Poland (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Attempts by developed nations at the U.N. climate talks in Poland to create watertight rules for international carbon emissions trading have prompted new, last-minute demands from Brazil.

Officials say the closing meeting at the U.N. climate talks has been delayed until 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) Saturday, prompting a collective groan from delegates.

Negotiators from almost 200 countries appeared close to clinching a deal Saturday on the rules that will govern the 2015 Paris climate accord, after two weeks of intense negotiations in Poland.

The most recent draft agreement published by the Polish official chairing the meeting set out most of the terms under which countries must report their greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to cut them.

Language on increasing efforts to curb climate change was postponed until a U.N. summit in New York in September.

___

9 a.m.

A deal on the rules that govern the Paris climate accord appeared within grasp Saturday, as officials from almost 200 countries worked to bridge remaining differences after two weeks of U.N. talks in Poland.

The 2015 Paris Agreement was a landmark moment in international diplomacy, bringing together governments with vastly different views to tackle the common threat of global warming. But while the accord set a headline target of keeping average global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) — or 1.5 C (2.7 F) if possible — much of the fine print was left unfinished.

The meeting in Poland's southern city of Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases — a key factor in man-made climate change — and the efforts they're taking to reduce them. Poor countries also wanted assurances on financial support to help them cut emissions, adapt to inevitable changes such as sea level rise and pay for damage that's already happened.

Belarus’ leader slams Russian talk of taking over his nation

MINSK, Belarus – The leader of Belarus on Friday accused some politicians in Russia of floating the prospect of incorporating his nation, and vowed that he wouldn't let it happen.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also criticized the Kremlin's plan to raise crude oil prices for Belarus, describing it as part of efforts to persuade his country to join Russia.

"I understand what all those hints mean: You get the oil but you break up your country and join Russia," he said at a news conference.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko engaged in televised bickering during a meeting of a Moscow-dominated economic alliance earlier this month, with the Belarusian leader assailing Moscow for its intention to charge higher prices for energy supplies to Belarus.

Putin countered that Belarus would still get the energy resources at much cheaper prices than others, and noted that a deeper integration is needed to level the prices between the two countries.

Lukashenko on Friday cited Russian ultranationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky as one of those who have suggested that Belarus should be incorporated into Russia.

"It will never happen," the Belarusian president said. "Sovereignty is a sacred thing for us."

Lukashenko has ruled the nation of 10 million with an iron hand for nearly a quarter century, cracking down on dissent and the media. He has relied on Russia's loans and cheap energy to keep Belarus' Soviet-style economy afloat.

Despite the close political, economic and military ties between the two ex-Soviet neighbors, Lukashenko has bristled at what he described as Moscow's attempts to subdue his nation.

"Is Russia ready today to incorporate separate Belarusian regions or the country as a whole?" he asked rhetorically, warning Moscow to think of the consequences of such move. "How will people in our country and your country will look at it, what will be the reaction of the international community to that kind of stealthy incorporation of one country into another?"

Lukashenko also noted that he rejected Russia's push to set up an air force base in Belarus, arguing that the close military ties between the two countries made it unnecessary.

Russia's desire to open the base has unnerved many in Belarus, raising fears that Moscow could use the facility to take over the country like it did in Crimea, where it used its naval base there to annex Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula in 2014.

But even as he issued rebukes and warnings to the Kremlin, the Belarusian leader pledged to maintain a close alliance with Moscow.

Lukashenko noted that he has no intentions of charging Russia for using the two military facilities it has in Belarus — an early warning radar and a naval communications center.

"I'm not even raising the issue of payment," he said. "It would be improper to ask Russia to pay for them."

___

Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

One ‘nebulous’ word sends sparks flying over Brexit talks

BRUSSELS – As if the Brexit negotiations aren't tense enough, a "nebulous" linguistic fog briefly spread across the European Union summit on Friday.

One word sent sparks flying between two of the biggest protagonists, British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

EU leaders have rebuffed May's request to sweeten the divorce agreement and help her win over a hostile U.K. Parliament, and Juncker complained to reporters Thursday about a political climate which was sometimes "nebulous, imprecise."

Juncker thought little more of it — until a clearly angry May confronted him at the summit table Friday.

The heated exchange was captured on video with no sound, but lip-readers reported that May said: "What did you call me? You called me nebulous." Juncker was seen shaking his head, apparently replying: "No I didn't."

Talks have been on a knife's edge for months for a divorce which both sides see as a defining moment in their history, with possibly hundreds of billions at stake depending on the outcome. So every word counts, however nebulous.

Juncker later explained that he was talking about the overall debate in Britain, where it is often hard to tell who is on which side, not referring to May personally.

May acknowledged Friday that she had a "robust" exchange with Juncker, but added: "That is the sort of discussion you are able to have when you've developed a working relationship and you work well together."

"What came out of that was his clarity that actually … he had been talking about a general level of debate," she said.

Juncker was relieved. "I did not refer to her," he said. "I didn't, by the way, know that this word does exist in English."

It was time to kiss and make up. "In the course of the morning, after having checked what I said yesterday night, she was kissing me," Juncker said.

Brazilian president orders extradition of Cesare Battisti

SAO PAULO – Brazil's outgoing President Michel Temer signed a decree Friday ordering the extradition of an Italian communist militant convicted of murder in his home country.

The decree was signed one day after Supreme Federal Tribunal Justice Luiz Fux ordered the arrest of Cesare Battisti and said that the president would have the final word over his extradition to Italy.

The presidential press office confirmed the extradition decree but provided no additional detail.

Battisti escaped from Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder allegedly committed when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism. He was convicted in absentia in 1990.

He has acknowledged membership in the group but has denied killing anyone.

Battisti lived in France and Mexico before escaping to Brazil to avoid being extradited. He was arrested in Rio de Janeiro in 2007, prompting the Italian government to request that he be handed over.

But former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva granted him asylum in 2010.

Battisti was eventually released from jail, but was arrested again in 2017 after he was caught trying to cross the Brazil-Bolivia border carrying the equivalent of about $7,500 in undeclared cash. He was released the second time after a few days.

As a result of that incident, Fux said that Interpol had issued the latest request for Battisti's arrest on tax evasion and money laundering charges, leading him to issue the Brazilian warrant. He said an arrest would "allow for the re-examination" of "his permanence in the country."

Battisti's lawyer Igor Tamasauskas had no immediate response to a request for comment from The Associated Press, but the G1 news portal quoted him as saying, "I have no information on his whereabouts."

"I know he lives in Cananeia (a coastal city in Sao Paulo state), but I do not know where he is at this moment," Tamasauskas said.

Police said they searched for Battisti at his home, but the house was shuttered and there were no signs of anyone inside.

Battisti has been living in Cananeia since 2015.

Italy's head of state, President Sergio Mattarella, thanked Temer for his decision on the Battisti case.

"Your gesture constitutes significant witness to the ancient and solid friendship between Brazil and Italy, and is testimony to the sensibility about a complex and delicate matter that arouses feelings of intense involvement by the public opinion of our country," Mattarella said in a statement released by the presidential Quirinal Palace Friday night.

Reporter’s Notebook: France faces double dose of violence

PARIS  - France is facing double violent trouble these days.

On Friday, officials assessed the situation in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, as a two-day manhunt ended with the killing by police of the man responsible for a terror attack on the Christmas market earlier in the week. It is just one of many terror strikes the country has seen in recent years.

Some 700 French police and soldiers were involved in the hunt, made even more complicated by the city being on the border with Germany and near Switzerland. Officials from those two countries were involved in the hunt as well.

The brutality of the act, in which the attacker shot and knifed people in the center of the picturesque town was underscored by an increase in the casualty toll Friday, to four dead and some dozen injured, with several still in the hospital.

In the end, the gunman stayed close to his home of Strasbourg. Working off a tip from an eyewitness, police cornered him and killed him in a shootout.

The man police say is responsible for the carnage, 29 year old Cherif Chekat, was a French native, born of Algerian parents. He was described as a “thug” who was in and out of jail for common crimes for much of his life, coming to extremism late in his “career.”

According to Regis Le Sommier, editor of the leading Paris Match magazine, “…all of a sudden in the last few days we saw him open an account on “Telegram,” which we know is the common network for terrorists to communicate with. He then began to show radicalization.”

Seven more people have been held as authorities look to see if he had any assistance. Strasbourg re-opened the Christmas market Friday, an act of defiance against the terrorists and to seek normalcy for life there.

Video

A few hundred miles away in Paris, though, owners of stores, restaurants, and operators of several landmarks were getting ready to close on Saturday. This came as the fifth weekend of the so-called “Yellow Vest” protests was set to start.

This anti-government movement aimed at high taxes, low wages and the government of President Emmanuel Macron, seen as out of touch with the people, has picked up steam in recent weeks. The last two weekends have seen real violence in Paris and elsewhere as militant extremists mixed in with the demonstrators. It was some of the worst street violence seen in France in decades.

Despite concessions offered by Macron earlier this week, and the attention given by the country to the terror attack, all signs are that there could be more trouble Saturday, and the protest is not showing signs of going away.

“It is deeply rooted in a certain category of people, especially it’s the French middle class,” Paris Match editor Le Sommier explained to us. “They are sliding towards poverty and that’s a very dangerous sign of possible unrest and a movement that could be lasting for quite awhile.”

In fact, while some observers think the economic unrest could take a break over the holiday period here, most expect it to get rolling again in January, when new bills come in.

For a country with a revolutionary past, France is dealing with modern-day violence, of several kinds, with no sure way clear.

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.

Hungary’s ‘slave law’ passes, sparking protests in parliament and on the streets

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday showed no signs of heeding US and European Union warnings to rein in his “illiberal state,” instead introducing new laws that critics say will tighten his grip on power.

Hundreds of protesters marched through Budapest and gathered at the parliament building late into Wednesday night, after Orban’s hardline Fidesz party pushed through legislation allowing employers to ask their workers to take on up to 400 hours’ overtime per year. Critics have dubbed it the “slave law.” The government told CNN that the “voluntary changes to working hours” were “in the interest of the workers” and would allow people to work and earn more.

    1000 maybe 2000 young angry protesters at parliament, tense, note similar standoffs in recent years have all ended w police restraint & protesters eventually give up, let's see pic.twitter.com/DG7gIlnP75

    — Peter Murphy (@MurphyPeterN) December 12, 2018

    Orban’s right-wing party, which holds a parliamentary majority, also pushed through another controversial law Wednesday that will create new courts, overseen by the justice minister, to handle cases concerning “government business,” such as tax and elections, Reuters reported. The government told CNN that the new courts, which are set to begin operating next year, will be independent and “in line with current European approaches and standards.”Read MoreBut with Orban’s justice minister expected to oversee the hiring of judges, rights groups warned the move will set the country further down the path to authoritarianism.One member of parliament brandishes an air horn in parliament following the vote.Hungarians protest in Budapest on Wednesday.

    What has the response been?

    Hungary’s parliament was thrown into scenes of turmoil following the vote on the new legislation, with opposition lawmakers sounding air horns and angrily confronting the Prime Minister.One member of parliament, Tordai Bence, filmed himself demanding answers from an awkward-looking Orban over the new overtime laws.

    MUST WATCH: As the National Assembly of Hungary descends into chaos, opposition MP Bence Tordai rolls up on PM Orban and trolls him to his face. This is unprecedented. Orban is visibly uncomfortable. He was not counting on this. #Hungary pic.twitter.com/C8XCKN9A6G

    — Benjamin Novak (@b_novak) December 12, 2018

    Shortly after the vote, around 2,000 people marched through Budapest — some waving EU flags — and converged on the steps of the parliament. Some protesters hurled objects at police, who responded with pepper spray, Reuters reported.Rights groups were also quick to condemn the new laws, warning that judicial independence was under threat.”There is no real argument behind the law, this is simply a political decision that aims to extend the government’s control over the judiciary,” said Dávid Vig, director of Amnesty International Hungary, in a statement.”It is no surprise though, it fits well into the series of measures taken by the Hungarian government to erode rule of law in Hungary,” he added.

    Why is the EU so concerned about Orban?

    Since Orban’s populist Fidesz Party swept into power in 2010, and most recently won a landslide victory in April this year, it has come under increasing fire from the European Union over its crackdowns on democratic institutions.Earlier this year, the European Parliament took the unprecedented decision to trigger Article 7 — a disciplinary process — against Hungary over its erosion of democratic norms that spanned everything from the media to migrants.George Soros-backed university 'forced out' of HungaryThe move came on the heels of Hungary’s “Stop Soros” law — named after the billionaire philanthropist and well-known Orban foe George Soros — which banned nongovernmental organizations from assisting undocumented migrants.On December 3, Central European University, which was founded by Soros, said it had been “forced out” of Hungary in “an arbitrary eviction.”

      Orban’s anti-migrant policies, which have been blasted by the EU, have proved particularly popular in rural Hungary.Orban has also found allies in Poland, which is facing its own disciplinary process from the EU, and with Italy’s similarly hardline interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

Strasbourg shooting suspect killed by police, Paris authorities say

The man suspected of killing at least three people and wounding 13 others at Strasbourg’s famed Christmas market has been killed by French police, following a shoot-out not far from the scene of Tuesday’s attack.

Cherif Chekatt, 29, was shot dead on Thursday evening, two days after he first disappeared sparking a massive manhunt involving hundreds of police officers, soldiers and anti-terror specialists from three European countries. Cherif Chekatt, 29French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said police recognized a man who looked like Chekatt walking on the street in Strasbourg’s Neudorf district on Thursday night and approached him. He opened fire on officers when they tried to question him, he said.

    Police returned fire, killing the suspect, Castaner said. “As I am speaking to you, I am thinking about the victims and the wounded. I am thinking of those close to them. I am thinking of Strasbourg and France that was hit by this terrible attack,” Castaner said. Read MoreOn Thursday, Strasbourg police said the death toll from the attack had risen to three, after one person succumbed to their injuries. Five people remain in serious condition with eight others suffering light injures. The hunt prompted a curfew in the eastern French city near the German border and forced the country to raise its national security threat level to its highest status: “emergency terror attack.” French prosecutors said the suspect shouted the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is greatest,” at the time of the attack. “It’s relief for the people of Strasbourg to know that the attacker has been killed,” Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries said, adding that the Christmas market would reopen on Friday.The French National Police thanked the public for their assistance in finding Chekatt.”Thank you for your alerts which allowed us to find the wanted individual,” the National Police said on Twitter.French police continue hunt for Strasbourg gunmanEarlier on Thursday, Paris prosecutor’s office said that a fifth person was taken into custody in relation to the attack. “At this stage there are five people in custody,” a spokesperson said.Authorities said Chekatt entered the perimeter of the market, one of the oldest in Europe, by the city’s Corbeau Bridge and started shooting and stabbing passers-by on the Rue des Orfevres around 8 p.m., when many were in the middle of their Christmas shopping. Anti-terror police flooded the market and tried to arrest the suspected gunman. He exchanged fire with security forces, suffering an injury to his arm. The suspected gunman then jumped into a taxi and fled the scene, Heitz said. .m-infographic–1544607178535 { background: url(//cdn.cnn.com/cnn/.e/interactive/html5-video-media/2018/12/12/20181212_France_Strasbourg_shooting_map_small2x2.png) no-repeat 0 0 transparent; margin-bottom: 30px; padding-top: 139.46666666666667%; width: 100%; -moz-background-size: cover; -o-background-size: cover; -webkit-background-size: cover; background-size: cover; } @media (min-width: 640px) { .m-infographic–1544607178535{ background-image: url(//cdn.cnn.com/cnn/.e/interactive/html5-video-media/2018/12/12/20181212_France_Strasbourg_shooting_map_large2.png); padding-top: 56.236559139784944%; } } @media (min-width: 1120px) { .m-infographic–1544607178535{ background-image: url(//cdn.cnn.com/cnn/.e/interactive/html5-video-media/2018/12/12/20181212_France_Strasbourg_shooting_map_large2.png); padding-top: 56.236559139784944%; } } <!– On Thursday, French police evacuated buildings and cordoned off the area close to where Chekatt had fled. The gunman’s father, mother and two brothers were also questioned by police, a source close to the investigation told CNN.Checkatt was already known to security services as a possible threat, police said. He has an extensive criminal background that includes 27 convictions in France, Germany and Switzerland, mostly for acts of robbery and violence.A spokeswoman for the Swiss Federal Police, Cathy Maret, told CNN that Chekatt was well known to authorities there, having been arrested and convicted several times in Switzerland for crimes such as break-ins, theft and violence. He was not on their radar as a radical Islamist or for narcotics violations, she said.In 2017, he was deported from Germany to France after the Interior Ministry in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg confirmed he had been convicted of break-ins and serious theft in 2016 and spent time in a German prison. The German Federal Criminal Office said the suspect was not known in Germany as a radical Islamist.Members of the French police special forces take part in an operation at the Neudorf neighborhood in Strasbourg.However, Chekatt was known to French prison officials for being radicalized and for his proselytizing behavior in detention in 2015, Paris prosecutor Heitz said, adding that he had been incarcerated multiple times. He was also on a French watch list called a “Fiche S” surveillance file. The “Fiche S” is a French terror and radicalization watch list that includes thousands of people, some of whom are under active surveillance, meaning they are on law enforcement’s radar.

      Hours before the attack, French gendarmes tried to bring Chekatt in for questioning but found he wasn’t home, a spokesperson for France’s National Police told CNN earlier this week, without providing further details.Chekatt was born in Strasbourg, according to CNN affiliate BFM.

Irish city spends almost $7,000 polishing door handles for UK royal visit

Making a venue fit for a prince is a daunting task, but an Irish city may have gone overboard in its preparations for a visit from the UK’s Prince Charles.

Cork City Council spent almost 6,000 euros ($6,800) on polishing door handles to prepare for a one-day stop by Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in June.A total of 203,761 euros ($231,900) was spent refurbishing the city hall before the occasion. Of that, over 11,000 euros was spent on deep-cleaning offices and more than 6,000 euros on replacing a light in the foyer.

    A councilor who revealed the amounts spent on Twitter labeled the expenditure “crazy,” asking why the money wasn’t put toward tackling homelessness in the city.

    Cork City Council’s spent €19,770 for a dinner for Charles & Camilla along with 70 guests. In total €203,761. I have no issue with them visiting but I cannot stand over this type of expenditure when we have the high levels of homelessness, hospital waiting lists € much more. pic.twitter.com/WmaUK4SI6o

    — CLLRThomas Gould (@ThomasGouldsf) December 11, 2018

    “I have no issue with them visiting but I cannot stand over this type of expenditure when we have the high levels of homelessness, hospital waiting lists (and) much more,” Sinn Féin councilor Thomas Gould tweeted, along with a picture of the list of expenses.Read MoreBut the council has defended the costs, saying in a statement emailed to CNN that they included “specialist reconditioning, polishing and lacquering of over 260 individual brass items by a local specialist firm.” It added that the money covered “reconditioning, polishing and lacquering door handles, escutcheons, push plates, finger plates, brass fittings and kick plates.”These items had not been refurbished since they were first put in place over 80 years ago and were due to be refinished but the project was brought forward due to (the) Royal visit,” they said.

      Charles and Camilla visited Cork in June, and were greeted in the town hall.Cork, which is sometimes known as the “rebel city” due to its history of opposing British rule, also spent around 4,000 euros on “sanding and varnishing,” 4,200 euros on power-washing railings, and almost 14,000 euros on banners and signs for its English Market, a permanent attraction that the royal couple toured during their visit.