by Rex Wockner
Right-wing extremists attacked the 1,500 marchers in Budapest’s gay pride parade and fought with police for several hours afterward July 5.
Hundreds of counterdemonstrators reportedly threw rocks, eggs, bottles, firecrackers, feces, acid, paint and Molotov cocktails at the marchers and the police. They also set a police van on fire and damaged three media trucks.
At least 45 of the attackers were arrested. Riot police unleashed tear gas and water cannons on the protesters at points during the mile-long march down Andrassy Road.
At least 25 people were injured, including 17 of the 2,100 police officers protecting the event.
A post-parade concert was canceled.
“There was one street where literally a shower of eggs and stones was poured on us,” said activist Gabor Kuszing. “I was lucky to have a placard in my hand, and others used umbrellas.”
A rock crashed through the window of a car carrying Hungarian Euro MP Katalin Levai.
“It is unacceptable in our democracies that microscopic groups of the extreme right may threaten and attack an important minority while it practices the universal right to freedom,” Levai said. “We must step up against groups advocating hatred and violence.”
The European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights denounced the violence and the fact that it was allowed to occur.
“I am deeply disappointed and concerned of Hungary’s inability to deal with extremists,” said Intergroup President Michael Cashman. “This must be referred to the European Commission and the commission’s president.”
Intergroup Vice President Sirpa Pietikaeinen said: “Police forces again, like last year, failed to protect citizens exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly, probably due to inadequate resources. I will demand an explanation from the Hungarian government and I will raise this issue with the European Commission.”