The US and the Israel Embassy has condemned the mob attack on the NGO community center Auróra, where LGBTQ, roma, jewish, homeless, transparency, educational and environmental NGOs reside. Alcee L. Hastings Helsinki Commission Chair and Ranking Member Sen. Ben Cardin also went public with expressing their dispair and anger about the actions. 6 days have passed since the neonazi group committed a hate crime in broad daylight with no police presence, and the Hungarian government still didn’t comment on the case.
A mob of about 50 far-right radicals attacked Auróra, tearing down and burning a rainbow flag before covering the building with neo-fascist slogans. This took place on a national holiday, as a celebratory event of the Hungarian national heroes. The community center was closed when it was targeted by members of the ultranationalist Legio Hungaria group, therefore no one was hurt.
Auróra is the only place in Budapest with the rainbow flag on all year. Budapest Pride resides in the building and holds tens of events there annually. This neonazi attack was the second in a month where a group of far right extremists try to terrorize the audience of Auróra. (See PinkNews’ report on the previous incident)
The mob might have felt encouraged due to the Hungarian government’s continuous homophobic remarks and the stigmatization of Auróra, as the placed was portrayed in the government media as the ‘base of Soros’.
This event is highly unprecedented - there has never been public rainbow flag burning before. What truly hurts our community is the ineffectiveness of the police. The neonazis pre-advertised that they will ‘celebrate’ the national holiday and will ‘let the flame burn’. Another neonazi group (not the organizer of the event, but it is probable that there is a huge overlap among the members) published a Facebook event that specifically said that they are going to march together and burn an LGBTQ flag on October 23. Respective to the advertisement of the event and the previous atrocities that happened in Auróra regarding the LGBTQ community we find it unbelievable that the police did not take any preventive actions.
As the representatives of Marom Budapest, the Jewish youth group who runs Auróra, called the police, the officers refused to add the fact to the report that a rainbow flag was burned. As the flag itself was completely destroyed the police kept on pushing that ‘it could have been any flag’ ignoring the fact that there has been a rainbow flag on the front of Auróra for years, that was missing, and there were the burnt remainings of a flag on the ground. The police published a short statement that they start an investigation in a case of ‘breach of peace’ (the lowest level of violent crimes) and erased every detail from the public statement that would have referred to a hate crime or prejudicial motives of the perpetrators.
After burning the rainbow flag the neonazis were marching on the streets in military formations, shouting ultranationalist slogens, unsupervised, with no police attendance. This phenonemon only would have been more than enough to create fear among the residents of 8th district, especially among the roma, jewish, refugee and LGBTQ persons.
We find it unbelievable that even after numerous American politicians have condemned the neonazi attack, no member of the Hungarian government has even mentioned the case, expressed their outrage toward the neonazi group or their solidarity towards the affected minorities.
We expect the Hungarian government to step up against the violent neonazi groups:
- ensure the jewish and LGBTQ communities that they will be protected by the police forces
- call upon the police forces to treat this investigation with high priority and watch out for the prejudice markers that has just been implemented in the police’s new hate crime protocol
- distant themselves from the neonazis
- express their support towards the minorities that were affected
Several international platforms has reported about this unprecedented hate crime: