Arts & Entertainment
Mayor blasts Budapest pride attackers
by Rex Wockner
Originally printed 07/26/2007 (Issue 1530 - Between The Lines News)
Budapest Mayor Demszky Gabor on July 9 denounced the hundreds of neo-Nazis and skinheads who violently attacked the city's gay pride march on July 7.
"Physical violence and murderous threats were meted out against peaceful marchers who were expressing their sexual identities," Gabor said. "Not a single well-meaning democrat can remain silent about this. (It was) intolerant, primitive and cowardly, all at once.
"It was those (LGBT marchers) who dared to declare their own selves, in spite of the threats, who bore witness to true courage. The main demand of Saturday's march was the extension of the right to marry to gay couples. A part of Budapest probably agrees with this demand, while another part does not. I am certain, however, that an overwhelming majority of the citizens of the capital condemns all the acts of violence committed against demonstrators standing up for their rights.
"As mayor of Budapest," he continued, "it is my duty to stand up for all those who are persecuted in Budapest. If need be, I am also Jewish, Gypsy and gay. ... We will not allow that anyone should fear because they belong to a minority."
Hundreds of skinheads, neo-Nazis and other opponents threw eggs, bottles, smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails and plastic bags of sand at the 2,000 marchers. The counter-demonstrators shouted, "Faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews," "Soap factory" and "Filthy faggots."
Later, dozens of pride attendees were attacked in the vicinity of the post-parade party at the open-air, riverside Buddha Beach nightclub, the parade's endpoint.
Parade opponents included members of Movement for a Better Hungary and the Hungarian National Front, who said they were annoyed that the Hungarian Socialists, part of the ruling government coalition, have come out in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, and that Gabor Szetey, the government's human resources secretary of state, publicly came out July 5 as he opened Budapest's 12th annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Festival of culture and arts.