Budapest Pride 2012 took place safely on Saturday despite earlier threats and the mayor’s unwillingness to support the event. Over 3,000 marchers took to the streets protected by riot police.

According to organiser Szilvia Nagy, it was the most popular pride so far in the city.

The procession included human rights organisations, ambassadors, opposition politicians and Members of the European Parliament and took place safely thanks to heavy police protection.

Before the pride, far-right groups had made violent threats, publishing the names and Facebook profiles of EuroGames organisers, as well as hotels where LGBT athletes stayed for the event.

Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós had replied to a letter regarding Pride safety by Members of the European Parliament, saying that “becoming absorbed in this subject matter would [not] indicate a measure of intellect”.

Present at the march, LGBT Intergroup Vice-President Sophie in ‘t Veld said: “This year’s Budapest Pride was a great celebration, and the police did a good job in providing protection in a calm and professional manner. However, politicians would contribute more to security by ending the climate of homophobia, so that massive police protection is no longer needed.

“The mayor of Budapest should consider marketing for his city: rampant homophobia, or an open, tolerant approach to diversity.”

Also present at the march, the LGBT Intergroup’s Co-President Ulrike Lunacek added: ”Mr Tarlós thinks that LGBT issues should not be a mayor’s concern. He forgets that his city alone has an estimated 180,000 LGBT citizens; they are part and parcel of Budapest’s socio-economic life.

“I urge him to open his mind and eyes; ignorance and intolerance are no good guides for any mayor in Europe. He should speak to the Latvian mayor of Riga, for example, who supported the Pride this year.

“It’s homophobes and homophobia that belong to the closet, not us lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”