EU: Gays Not Safe In Hungary

Although local Pride organizers praised the Budapest police for their handling of last weekend’s violent anti-gay demonstration, the European Parliament is condemning the Hungarian government for not adequately ensuring the safety of LGBT citizens.

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights has accused the Hungarian government of being unable to guarantee the safety of their citizens and visitors to the country. The violent scenes at a Pride march in Budapest on Saturday showed the country’s “inability to deal with extremists”, said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. “This must be referred to the European Commission and Commission’s President.”

A Hungarian MEP, who is a Vice-President of the Intergroup, criticised the police. “(They) failed to protect citizens exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly, probably due to inadequate resources,” said Sirpa Pietik√§inen. “I will demand an explanation from the Hungarian government and I will raise this issue with the European Commission.”

In a statement issued the day after the Pride march, Hungarian gay rights group the Patent Association said: “The police protected the march against serious physical attacks in an exemplary manner.” Last month police tried to cancel this year’s Pride march only to reverse their decision within twenty-four hours following international condemnation.

According to some watchdogs of Eastern Europe’s neo-Nazis, the Budapest Pride incident has emboldened anti-gay sentiment and fears are being raised that more Pride-related violence is to come.