Pride organisers demand investigation into violence
Gay rights activists in Hungary have accused the police of not doing enough to protect Pride marchers from attacks by homophobic protesters.
Last Saturday’s Pride march in the capital, Budapest, was marred by violence against gay participants.
Skinheads and fascists massed along the 7km (4.3 mile) route of the march.
They threw eggs and bottles filled with sand at the marchers.
Later that evening almost a dozen gay people were set upon and beaten.
In a statement to the press, Pride organisers said that the police had failed to take appropriate action:
“Contrary to a number of reports and the statement of the Interior Ministry, items capable of causing grievous bodily harm were thrown at the marchers: beer bottles, smoke bombs and molotov cocktails.
“The counter-demonstrators continuously shouted: “faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews,” “soap factory” and “filthy faggots.”
“In the neighbourhood of the event closing the parade dozens of attacks on gays by lingering counter-demonstrators took place. We demand an investigation.
“We call on the Minister responsible for public order to investigate the case instead of covering up why the police did not protect the marchers and why calls for help in the course of the night were refused.”
Justice and Law Enforcement minister Attila Piros told Reuters that there was nothing wrong with the procedures used by police to secure the parade.
Yesterday the Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky said that he and his political party, The Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), totally condemn the violence, calling the homophobic attackers “intolerant, primitive and cowardly.”
“On these occasions, I consider myself Jewish, Roma and gay,” he said. Mr Demszky has been mayor of the city since 1990.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), whose members took part in Budapest Pride, has also condemned the actions of the police.
“We consider the actions of the police extremely negligent as all these crimes could be foreseen, yet the police did not make preparations to prevent them,” ILGA said in a statement to PinkNews.co.uk
“Violent attacks could be expected in a situation where a provocative extremist group organises a counter demonstration against the pride march.
“Neither is it a surprise that the extremist groups stayed in the area of the event after the march, and perpetrated violent crimes.
“We wish to call attention to the long-term consequences of police negligence.
“The events last Saturday left a general feeling of threat in every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person in Hungary who now have reason to be afraid that the police will not protect them when they become victims of hate crimes.
“Failure to intervene encourages not only the perpetrators from last Saturday to further crimes, but sends the message to other criminals that crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people are permissible.”