by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Thirteen embassies in Hungary issued a statement Aug. 28 in support of Budapest’s 14th gay pride events.
Culminating with a Sept. 5 parade, the weeklong festivities include music, parties, an “antifascist demonstration,” workshops, an open-mic night, a picnic and a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of Karoly Kertbeny, “who invented the term ‘homosexuality,'” pride organizers said.
The press release expressing “support for and solidarity with” the events was signed by the embassies of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Human rights – including justice, equality, humanity, respect and freedom of expression – and the rule of law are the foundations upon which democratic states are built,” the embassies said. “Today, many individuals face discrimination, both systemic and overt, based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties.”
Last year, right-wing extremists attacked the parade’s 1,500 marchers and fought with police afterward.
Hundreds of counterdemonstrators threw rocks, eggs, bottles, firecrackers, feces, acid, paint and Molotov cocktails at the participants and the cops. They also set a police van on fire and damaged media trucks.
Around 45 of the attackers were arrested. Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to subdue them.
Some 25 people were injured, including several of the 2,100 police officers protecting the event. A post-parade concert was canceled.
The European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights denounced the violence and the fact that it wasn’t prevented.
“I am deeply disappointed and concerned of Hungary’s inability to deal with extremists,” said Intergroup President Michael Cashman.
Intergroup Vice President Sirpa Pietikaeinen added, “Police forces again, like last year, failed to protect citizens exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly.”