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Budapest Pride denied permission

April 9th, 2012

Left-wing commentators criticise the police for denying permission for the annual LGBT march in Budapest. They believe that the police by doing so is violating basic human rights. One speculates that the conservative government wants to make sure no gays appear in public.

The Budapest Police Department has denied permission for the annual event, claiming that the closure of Andrássy Avenue would seriously disrupt traffic, as it did in 2011. The decision is under appeal. Last year, an identical police ban was cancelled by a Budapest Court, and the Pride march could take place. The police had to defend demonstrators from several hundred far right activists, fearing a repeat of the violence of previous years.

Népszabadság in a front page op-ed piece finds it peculiar that the police did not seem in the least concerned about traffic jams when a hundred thousand pro-government demonstrators marched down Andrássy Avenue to express their support for the Orbán government in January (see BudaPost January 24).

The left-wing daily points out that apart from violating the right of assembly guaranteed by several international human rights treaties, the Budapest Police have also humiliated gays, by compelling them to fight for their basic rights.

Writing in Heti Világgazdaság, Imre Para-Kovács calls the decision unacceptable, but suggests that it sadly mirrors homophobic attitudes which are so common in Hungary. He also speculates that the decision was not taken by the police alone, but was proposed by the governing parties.

“Viktor Orbán does not want to see gays in the streets, working on the assumption that if  you cannot see them, they hardly exist – or, at least, one does not have to speak about them,” Para-Kovács contends.

The left-liberal commentator believes that Budapest Pride is a nuisance for Fidesz. If the demonstration takes place, Orbán’s Christian conservative supporters may feel alienated, and the likely counter-demonstration of far-right groups might also cause a headache for Fidesz. Instead of facing the problems and fighting homophobia, the governing parties would rather complacently sweep the whole issue under the carpet, Para-Kovács concludes.

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