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Police conduct at Budapest Pride criticized

July 10th, 2014

Conservative and liberal bloggers alike criticize the way the police secured the fringes of Saturday’s Budapest Pride march and their leniency towards radical counter-demonstrators.

The number of radicals who try to prevent the annual Gay Pride march from becoming the open and peaceful event that it is in the West is decreasing year by year, writes Brigi Kiss on Mandiner. She believes that until this tiny radical minority stops resorting to violence, the police will be forced to close down parts of Budapest with cordons, each and every time the march is organized. Kiss also brings up the example of a counter-protester who managed to climb on one of the Pride trucks, waving a suspicious black bag and shouting homophobic insults. The man who belonged to an extreme right youth organization was swiftly removed by security guards, one of whom assaulted him. The action of that security guard was highly objectionable, claims the blogger, but the whole incident would not have happened if the police had intervened properly, instead of just standing idly by and turning a deaf ear to the repeated calls addressed to them to act.

On Átlátszó.hu, Áron Halász believes that the mobilization of an immense force amounting to thousands of armed policemen, and the closing down of the inner city for almost an entire day are not efficient ways of spending taxpayers’ money. The tiny number of violent counter-protesters (maximum 100), he claims, could be dealt with by a small, well-trained police unit, which would cordon off such zealots, rather than the entire peaceful march. Halász also denounces the police for failing to intervene in the case of the protester climbing on top of the truck, or in other cases of what he saw as flagrant breaches of the law. (The man who climbed on the truck was acquitted by a Budapest court on Tuesday.)

On Kettős Mérce, editor András Jámbor accuses the police of having failed their duty to intervene to combat repetitive hate crime scenes. The counter-protesters insulted the LGBT-participants, incited violence against them, assaulted them physically, burnt a rainbow-flag, broke down a cordon and injured a policeman, but none of these crimes and felonies prompted a swift reaction from the members of the law enforcement force. Jámbor also condemns the press for not highlighting what he calls police lenience towards homophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma hate crimes and violent assaults. (This year no violent assaults were reported after the Pride March, nor does Jámbor mention any concrete example exept the case of a solitary counter-protester who ran into a crowd of onlookers, narrated by an anonymous reader.).

 On Válasz (Heti Válasz’s webmagazine), András Stumpf remarks that some of the pride participants did a disservice to their own cause by offending religious people in their beliefs. The Christian Democratic Party protested, whereupon István Vágó a former TV quiz host and now a follower of Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition (DK) asked on his Facebook page why the criticism of religion was inadmissible for Christian Democrats, while homophobic and anti-Semitic slogans are not. Stumpf replies that what Vágó calls the criticism of religion was in actual fact obscene images and words, while the Christian Democrats have never approved either anti-Semitic or homophobic insults.

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