27 Sep 2007

Budapest Pride

On Saturday 7th July 2007, I with members of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe) attended the Pride march in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, accompanied by skinheads and fascists who massed along the 7km (4.3 mile) route. The Hungarian National Front and the Movement for a Better Hungary had organised themselves well and even surprised the police. They threw eggs, smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails and bottles filled with sand at us. Some of them tried to infiltrate the march. "The counter-demonstrators continuously shouted: "faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews," "soap factory" and "filthy faggots." Not understanding Hungarian, myself and my friends were oblivious to what they were saying and smiled sweetly back in defiance not trying to show how scared we really were.

Unfortunately, it appeared that the police had not estimated the number of counter demonstrators who were going to turn up and were unable to contain them but on a positive note were at least there to protect the lgbt participants. When the march finished we were hurdled into an enclosure where the freedom party was to be held. We had to leave to attend a meeting which was lucky as we hard that once the police left, some of the fascists returned which meant it was not safe for people to leave. We also heard that later that evening almost a dozen gay people were set upon and beaten.The Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky and his political party, The Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), totally condemned 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. ILGA 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. Violent attacks could be expected in a situation where a provocative extremist group organises a counter demonstration against the pride march.” Budapest Pride was an experience and I now know what it feels like to have to evade a missile because of my sexual orientation or gender identity. It was very frightening but I am glad that I was there in solidarity with my Hungarian lgbt brothers and sisters.

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