Amid petrol bomb attacks, 400 police committed to gay beauty pageant
While gay activists in Budapest are complaining that the police are not protecting gay businesses in the city, the organisers of Mr Gay Europe have announced they will have “400 policemen and women to protect them during the final.”
Two gay venues have been attacked with petrol bombs in the last week.
The gay beauty pageant, which is closely modelled on events such as Miss World, takes place in the Hungarian capital this weekend.
It includes a “Mr Gay Swim Wear competition.”
A press statement from organisers stated:
“The Mr. Gay Europe Pageant is much more than a “beauty contest.”
“The young man selected will be more than just a pretty face and a sexy body.
“While physical beauty will be part of the judges’ considerations, it is a young man’s inner values that will make the difference in their selection.”
20 people from across Europe are taking part, including a representative from Wales and another from the UK.
Organisers said: “The police will … protect the Mr. Gay Europe final with a 400 men strong force.
“The militant protestors have put up a web page with names and addresses of all gay venues in Budapest and already two bars have been attacked with fire bombs.
“Even so, Wednesday this week, 20 young men from all over Europe met in Budapest in order to win the title of Mr. Gay Europe.
“This is the fourth time this competition takes place, and it celebrates the gay European man and pays tribute to the diversity as well as what we have in common as gay men in Europe.”
A gay sauna was targeted yesterday morning and a bar was attacked last week.
Petrol bombs were used on both occasions and a telephone warning enabled the premises to be evacuated.
The gay community in the city is fearful that more violence could occur during this week’s 13th LGBT Film and Cultural Festival and at the Pride march on Saturday.
“We are doubtful if the police are really protecting the gay establishments as they promised,” said Gábor Kuszing of gay rights group Patent Association.
“Police were present around the cinema housing the Festival, however they left after the politicians opening the Festival finished with their speeches,” he added.
Yesterday’s attack comes after repeated threats against the LGBT festival and the Pride march from right-wing groups during the last few weeks.
Budapest’s police chief Gabor Toth is expecting harsher and more frequent disruption to the city’s Pride parade.
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Nationalist leaders are inviting “Hungarian patriots” to “protect Hungary’s honour” from the international gay community, according to the Budapest Times.
Last month police decided to cancel this year’s Pride parade only to reverse their decision within twenty-four hours following international condemnation.
The move to ban Pride 08 was widely seen as a reaction to last year’s parade when a dozen people, including a German couple, were beaten by skinheads with opponents throwing eggs, bottles and Molotov cocktails at marchers.
In a statement, Budapest’s mayor Gabor Demeszky said:
“In this situation every democrat must raise their voice against cowardly troublemakers and call on the police to do everything to ensure the protection of peaceful marchers and spectators.
“As city mayor it is my duty to stand up for all those who are persecuted in Budapest due to their affiliation, faith, or sexual orientation.”