Hungary’s Human Resources Ministry, the opposition Socialist Party, the leftist Democratic Coalition and the electoral alliance E14-PM have condemned an assault on three people after they attended Saturday’s gay pride march in Budapest.
The SZEMA Liberal Party on told MTI in a statement that three of its members had been attacked by a group of some 30 “uniformed neo-Nazis” near Budapest’s Nyugati railway station after the march.
The ministry voiced shock at the assault, in which Tibor Derdak, the headmaster of a grammar school in northern Hungary, and two others had been kicked and beaten. The ministry condemns any incident in which participants in a demonstration are assaulted, irrespective of whether the ministry approves the demonstration itself or not, the statement said. The ministry trusts that the police will make all effort to identify the perpetrators, the document said.
E14-PM board member Timea Szabo demanded in a statement an investigation into the police’s “failure” to identify the men who had attacked Derdak and his companions.
Szabo said that though a police statement suggests that the victims had approached the police but not requested their intervention, Derdak says the opposite and their seeing a doctor to ask for a report on their injuries contradicts the police’s position.
“The police were there soon enough but they started identifying the victims rather than the perpetrators,” Szabo insisted.
She added that most of the police officers securing the march had done a good job, but the incident casts a shadow on the whole organisation.
Socialist spokesman Zsolt Torok said in a statement sent to MTI on Sunday that the attack was just as shameful as the fact that while similar marches in other European cities could be secured with a force of no more than 100 police, in Budapest it had taken a double cordon and ten times as many officers to “keep homophobic and racist members of the extreme right away from peaceful residents”.
The Socialist Party expects “clear and firm” action by the government and its agencies against violent groups, the statement said.
Amnesty International has urged that the police should conduct a thorough investigation. The organisation called it worrying that “another event has involved a racist and homophobic assault”. They called it similarly worrying that the police had not made an attempt to detain the perpetrators, who, according to the victims, had not got far from the scene.
The police’s website said that an investigation was under way to ascertain if a “crime against a community was committed against three men leaving the Budapest Pride March”.
In their statement, the police insisted that the victims “unanimously” told officers securing the pride event that “the attackers are not present, they cannot describe them and they do not need medical assistance”.