Participants of a commemoration for the anniversary of the banned paramilitary Hungarian Guard (Magyar Garda) and anti-fascist demonstrators clashed near Budapest’s Heroes Square on Saturday afternoon, MTI’s correspondent reported from the site.
Four counter-demonstrators have been detained, the press office of Budapest police headquarters said.
The demonstrators against the Guard, who numbered about 100, chanted “Nazis, go home!” on nearby Andrassy boulevard after some 130 members of the Guards held a commemoration of the 5th anniversary of their foundation in the square. Many of the attenders were dressed in uniforms and marched in formation. Another two hundred people attended the event holding up banners and flags associated with the far right.
The event was secured by about one hundred police officers.
The counter-demonstrators tried to enter Heroes’ Square but police prevented them. Police also had to interfere when some of the counter-demonstrators were pushed and it was reported that some of them were spat on. The Hungarian Solidarity Movement, the leftist opposition Democratic Coalition, several Roma organisations and facebook groups attended the anti-Guard demonstration.
One of the counter-demonstrators, a young man speaking in Hungarian who called himself anti-fascist, tried to attack one of the people attending the Guard event. He was taken into custody by police and handcuffed. Three females, foreign nationals, were also detained by police.
Gabor Vona, leader of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, addressed the commemoration. He said Hungary was currently facing many problems, including dependence on the European Union, social uncertainty, a lack of jobs and “gypsy crime” which he called a “problem of demography”.
He said the Hungarian Guard could always count on Jobbik’s support as they shared the same goals.
Aladar Horvath, the leader of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation, said that while the government had condemned the Guard event, an independent court had granted permission for it and thus legitimised the operation and existence of the banned organisation.
In a statement sent to MTI, the opposition Socialist Party voiced indignation at the Guard-associated event, and called on the government not to allow room for extremist manifestations. The party also demanded that the government draft legislation to prohibit “marches staged by organisations advocating racist ideas”.
According to the Socialist statment, the Guard commemoration in Budapest is a “disgrace for the whole of Hungary”.
On Friday, the government spokesman’s office said in a statement that the government had to respect a recent court decision which obliged police to allow and secure a commemoration on Saturday marking the fifth anniversary of the Hungarian Guard. At the same time, it stood determined to protect plural democracy against all ideologies and actions that promote exclusion and hatred, it added.