UPDATE – 8 July: According to statement of Kama Peksa from Pride organiser Rainbow Mission Foundation to Hungary Today “this year’s event was the most peaceful and unhindered one in recent years. She noted that the participants marched without cordons this year, and in spite of that there were no disruptions. Peksa added that she knew of just one instance of a counterdemonstrator entering the crowd of marchers, but that person was escorted out by the organisers”. Read more: https://hungarytoday.hu/budapest-pride-2019-peaceful-march/ .

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(Hungary Today – 5 July 2019) After a number of scandals towards the end of the 2000s, Budapest Pride was held in relative peace over the past years. Lately, however, a small far-right group tends to disturb and troll events preceding Budapest Pride, a tendency that adds to debated statements of leading politicians. 

Budaházy on the stage

The face of the Hungarian far-right, György Budaházy, his supporters, and far-right party Mi Hazánk, are those who regularly appear and (try to) troll LMBTQ events, as the march nears.

On at least two occasions, their actions have led to the postponement or relocation of the event. A handful of the party’s young activists disturbed a movie screening in Szeged “in protest against gay propaganda.” Similarly, in June, organisers were forced to relocate a screening as Budaházy, together with his sister Edda and other supporters, appeared at the site in downtown Budapest and disturbed participants. Likewise, one week ago, police were called to evict three of them from cultural hub Auróra, ahead of a similar event.

A week ago, Mi Hazánk officially called on the interior minister and the police to ban the Pride parade. Party leader László Toroczkai said his party would stage counter-demonstrations “for public morals” if the march goes ahead as planned. While police today announced to ban Mi Hazánk’s rally, there will be other counter-demonstrations during the march.

Fidesz MP wants no Pride parade

In June, at media law’s general debate in the Parliament, Fidesz’ deputy group leader István Boldog spoke of “the protection of our children from sexual and other aberrations” and called on MPs to “do everything possible to prevent the next Pride parade to be held publicly.”

“Everyone does whatever they want, as long as it stays within four walls, it doesn’t bother me,” he claimed, (…) But if you are indeed concerned about children’s interest, then you should prevent them from having to watch naked people on the streets of Budapest.”

This came on the heels of House Speaker László Kövér’s controversial statements made earlier in May when he argued that “there is no difference morally in the behavior of a paedophile and homosexuals who want to adopt.”

33 embassies take stance 

33 foreign embassies issued a joint statement in which they claimed that “on the occasion of the 24th Budapest Pride Festival they fully support the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, as well as their right to equality, non-discrimination, assembly, and peaceful and legitimate self-expression.”

“Rule of law and respect of human rights are the foundations that democratic states are built on,” they added.

Participants of the 24th Budapest Pride will gather at Kossuth sq. on Saturday at 3 pm. From there, they will then march through Széchenyi sq. to Március 15 sq.

featured image via MTI/Zoltán Máthé

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Read the comment by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (in Hungarian) 

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