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Budapest pride success despite anti-gay threats

Riot police protect thousands of marchers on LGBT pride parade in Hungarian capital
Sophie in 't Veld and Ulrike Lunacek at Budapest Pride

Budapest pride went ahead safely despite the threat of violence and the mayor’s refusal to support the celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Around 3,000 people protected by riot police marched through the center of the Hungarian capital on Saturday (7 July).

Organizer Szilvia Nagy said it was the most successul parade yet and included participants from human rights organisations, ambassadors, opposition politicians and Members of the European Parliament.

Before the pride, far-right groups had made violent threats, publishing the names and Facebook profiles of EuroGames organisers, as well as hotels where LGBT athletes stayed for the event.

Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós had replied to a letter regarding Pride safety by Members of the European Parliament, assessing that 'becoming absorbed in this subject matter would [not] indicate a measure of intellect'.

Present at the march, LGBT Intergroup vice-president Sophie in ‘t Veld said: 'This year’s Budapest Pride was a great celebration and the police did a good job in providing protection in a calm and professional manner.

'However, politicians would contribute more to security by ending the climate of homophobia, so that massive police protection is no longer needed.

'The mayor of Budapest should consider marketing for his city - rampant homophobia, or an open, tolerant approach to diversity.”

Also present at the march, LGBT Intergroup Co-President Ulrike Lunacek added:

'Mr Tarlós thinks that LGBT issues should not be a mayor’s concern. He forgets that his city alone has an estimated 180,000 LGBT citizens. They are part and parcel of Budapest’s socio-economic life.

'I urge him to open his mind and eyes. Ignorance and intolerance are no good guides for any mayor in Europe. He should speak to the Latvian mayor of Riga, for example, who supported the pride this year.

'It’s homophobes and homophobia that belong to the closet, not us lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.'

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