Monday, July 7, 2008

Pride and (Buda)pests

Neo-Nazis disrupted the Budapest Pride parade this weekend, pelting marchers with stones and eggs and hurling fire bombs at police. Police were forced to use water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Right-wing extremists hurled stones and eggs at a Gay Pride procession in the Hungarian capital on Saturday before clashing with police called in to protect the marchers. Police arrested more than 40 of the assailants, who threw firebombs at the officers and set alight a police minibus. At least five persons were injured, two of them policemen.

A jazz concert due to be held at the end of the rally was cancelled for security reasons. Politician Gabor Horn, a leading member of the liberal Association of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), said he was spat upon, slapped and doused with beer by neo-Nazis.

It was the worst violence during the 12 years the Gay Pride parade has taken place in Budapest.

Hundreds of of extremists gathered along the route taken by the 1,500 marchers to give vent to their anger at gays and lesbians. In the days leading up to the parade, calls were made on Neo-Nazi internet forums for violence to be used against the "unnatural perverts."

The police used tear gas and a water cannon to clear the route for the marchers to leave. The police escorted the marchers to a metro station at Hősök tere, simultaneously dispersing the mob there.

Last week, two gay venues were attacked with petrol bombs. Four petrol bombs were thrown into sauna called Magnum.

Last year, Hungarian police were criticised by Amnesty International for an apparent lack of action when similar violence occurred.

Last week 60 far-right extremists were arrested in Sofia following Bulgaria's first gay rights parade. Brno in the Czech Republic also saw violence at their gay rights celebrations last week.

Next year will see civil partnerships being introduced in 2009.

More at Pink News.

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