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Radical right-wing demonstration in Budapest

May 30th, 2020

As the radical right-wing Our Homeland Movement calls a rally to protest against what they define as ‘Gypsy crime’, a pro-government and an alt-left commentator offer diametrically opposed views on the causes of racial segregation.

On Thursday, the radical right-wing Our Homeland Movement organized a demonstration in downtown Budapest to protest against ’Gypsy crime’ and remember the victims of last week’s stabbing (see BudaPost May 27). The police refused to permit the rally, but hundreds of demonstrators gathered anyway at the offices of the National Roma Council and marched to the scene of the stabbing where a larger crowd had gathered to remember the two victims. The police confiscated billboards and flags, checked the identity of 72 demonstrators and launched prosecutions against 8 of them.

In Magyar Demokrata, Sándor Szarka accuses Roma rights and human rights activists of ‘encouraging underprivileged Roma to see ghetto culture as the norm’. The pro-government commentator, however, agrees with human rights activists who warn against stereotypical anti-Roma generalizations. He maintains, nonetheless, that a brutal ghetto culture is more common among poor Roma than elsewhere in society. Szarka goes on to allege that compensation to be paid to Roma children educated in segregated schools in Gyöngyöspata (see BudaPost May 14) is seen by anti-social Roma as an encouragement. He claims that as a result of the ’lenient stance’ of human rights activists, anti-social Roma have become even more aggressive. Thus, Roma and non-Roma families hoping for a decent life flee, which further deepens segregation and strengthens the spread of ghetto culture, Szarka concludes.

Mérce’s Orsi Pósfalvi finds it nauseating and frightening that the slogan ‘Gypsy crime’, used by radical right-wingers, is gaining common currency again. Without mentioning the fact that police banned the demonstration and prosecuted several participants, Pósfai accuses the police of turning a blind eye to the illegal rally. The alt-left columnist fears that racist rhetoric and anti-Roma hate-mongering may at some point mutate into violent acts against Roma individuals. He believes that the serial murders against Roma ten years ago were also motivated by the spread of ethnic stereotypes. Pósfai adds that the non-Roma majority has still not acknowledged its collective responsibility in the murder of Roma families. Pósfai goes so far as to claim that Prime Minister Orbán is personally responsible for the mainstreaming of anti-Roma racist talk, because the Prime Minister criticized the court ruling to pay cash compensation to Roma families whose children were educated in segregated classrooms in the city of Gyöngyöspata.



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