Minorities of Budapest call for help
Government-supported neonazi groups and passive police forces make Budapest dangerous
On September 26, 2019 an infamous neonazi group distrupted an LGBTQ movie screening (about tackling bullying LGBTQ youth at schools).
The screening took place at a community center Auróra, led by jewish activists and inhabited by numerous NGOs: LGBTQ, Roma, green, and homeless organizations besides Budapest Pride.
5-10 members of the neonazi group ‘Our Nation Movement’ (Mi Hazánk Mozgalom) violently pushed into the screening room with banners “Stop LGBT propaganda” and “Zero tolerance”, shouting and insulting the participants. They tried to get a reach of the laptop and the projector the movie was screened from by pushing and pinching organizers, neglecting the repeated verbal warnings to stop physically contacting them. When the police arrived upon the call of the venue, they did not do anything to stop the neonazi group, they were just silently standing by and watching. The representatives of the venue managed to barricade the entraces so the neonazi group was pushed out of the building to the inner yard, where they continued shouting derogatory terms to the participants and the people who just happened to be at the venue for almost 3 hours. They repeatedly threatened participants with “beating them up” and were demanding “banning faggots”. The police only acted on one occasion: when someone who witnessed the atrocity poured a cup of yoghurt on the neonazi’s banner. This person, unlike the neonazis, was ID’d by the police and they filed a report.
Hungarian legal aid group Helsinki Committee constituted this act as malpractice on the side of the police, as the fact that they did not stop the nenoazi group’s activity only encouraged them. They filed a complaint against the serving police officers as well as a prosecution against the neonazi group. Here’s the Helsinki Committe’s statement in Hungarian: https://helsinkifigyelo.blog.hu/2019/09/27/a_rendorok_tetlensegukkel_batoritottak_a_homofob_garazdakat
This was not the first time Budapest’s 8th district police acted out of line. They’ve been doing unsubstantiated drug raids at opposition places in the district for years. (See CNN’s report on how Auróra became the ‘Enemy of the state’: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/26/europe/hungary-orban-aurora-ngos-intl/index.html)
A few weeks ago they raided a very popular opposition candidate’s office, confiscated laptops, and took his campaign manager to the police HQ for hearing with provenly made-up charges.
The upon mentioned story and the neonazi group were not unfamiliar for Budapest’s LGBTQ groups. During the one-month-long Pride Festival in June 2019 the same group disrupted seven Pride events in the same manner: an anti-bullying program’s film screening, a pansexual speed-dating event, an event about gay refugees, a praying service of a pro-LGBTQ Christian group, a public lecture on the Stonewall riots, and a handcrafting DIY workshop for LGBTQ youth, and a transparent-making workshop of a ‘Christians for gays’ group.
The neonazi group proudly published posts and videos about their actions. György Budaházy, leader of this group was convicted for terrorism and hate crimes in 2016 for 13 years in prison (the case was reopened in 2018 and still going on). He has publicly said in 2019 May that “their party’s work is in line with Fidesz’s interests”. “‘Our Nation Movement’ helps Fidesz control the radical right” and “Fidesz has a concept about their needs, and ‘Our Nation Movement’ is fulfilling this task”. Source in Hungarian: https://444.hu/2019/05/29/budahazy-lassuk-be-hogy-a-fidesz-segiti-a-mi-hazank-mozgalmat
What is the bottom line? Minorities cannot be safe in Budapest. If the government continues its hate-fueling propaganda, the situation will be much worse.
How can you help? Write about it. Talk about it. This is not a general press release, this is a call for help. World leaders need to hold Viktor Orbán accountable for supporting neonazi groups and the unwilling police forces who’s passiveness makes the impression that they are legitimizing the neonazi groups’ actions. They need to put pressure on the Hungarian government not to follow Russia’s footsteps into a homophobic state model governed with hate propaganda and generating fear against minorities, portraying them as ‘internal enemies’.
State-generated homophobia in Hungary
After the ‘migration crisis’ silenced, Fidesz seemed in need of a new enemy they can make the center of their propaganda. We had several examples that made us believe, if the refugees and György Soros will not be a sufficient ‘public enemy figure of the state’, LGBTQ people and women’s rights will be the next in the framework of ‘protecting families’. Since its election in 2010, Fidesz was famous for its homophobic remarks (it was common to refer to their political opponent as gay a to validate that they are not able to take leading positions).
In 2019 Fidesz started enrolling its homophobia strategy.
In Hungary, about 78% of privately owned media platforms (and almost all the print newspapers) are owned by the best friends and oligarchs of Viktor Orbán, and the state owned media was transformed into a 24-7 propaganda-machine years ago. There were several demonstrations against this act, see here. It means there is a huge amount of Hungarians who only have access to media platforms that serve the political interests of Viktor Orbán.
On January 17, 2019 M1 (the main state-owned TV channel) made a whole episode of a talk show about gay conversion therapies. Kristóf Trombitás, journalist of Mandiner (newspaper owned by Lőrincz Mészáros, best friend of Orbán and the richest man in Hungary), led the discussion with András Hodás catholic priest and Szilárd Szőnyi, former journalist of Heti Válasz (another newspaper owned by Fidesz oligarchs) on how could they “cure” gay people, draw false “research data” and claimed that communicating that LGBTQ people shall accept themselves in nothing but harmful. Source: https://index.hu/kultur/media/2019/01/17/kozmedia_m5_melegek/
On April 2, 2019 Ottó Gajdics, writer of a Fidesz-owned newspaper, stated that he “tolerates gay people as much he tolerates dog shit on the sidewalk, and he doesn’t even throw them a kick”. Source: https://168ora.hu/itthon/gajdics-otto-a-meleg-parokrol-egyutt-tudunk-veluk-elni-ugy-ahogy-a-szaraz-kutyapiszokkal-az-arokparton-meg-csak-fel-sem-rugjuk-oket-165913
On May 15, 2019, the third most important person of the government, László Kövér, the Speaker of the Assembly said on a campaign event that “the normal homosexual doesn’t consitute himself equal to the heterosexuals”, and compared same sex parents who look out to adopt to pedophiles saying that “from a moral standpoint there’s no difference between a same-sex couple that want to be parents and pedophiles. For both of them, children are excise goods and accessories”. Source: https://index.hu/belfold/2019/05/15/kover_laszlo_forum_normalis_homoszexualisok_pedofilia/
On May 16, 2019 Gergely Gulyás, Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed on his press conference that the government fully stands by Kövér in his statement. Source: https://444.hu/2019/05/16/gulyas-tenyszeruen-igaz-amit-a-hazelnok-az-azonos-nemuek-orokbefogadasarol-mondott
On May 18, 2019 Budapest Pride organized a demostration to protest against Kövér’s homophobia. See the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JglASUxMD48
On July 15, 2019 Zsolt Bayer, one of the Orbán regime’s most honoured journalist proudly stated in his prime time talkshow that he is a ‘proud homophobe’ and explained that for a heterosexual man it is natural to ‘feel this way’. Source: https://24.hu/belfold/2019/07/15/bayer-zsolt-homofobia/
On August 4, István Boldog, deputy speaker of Fidesz called a boycott on Coca Cola after the brand launched a billboard campaign that showcased same-sex couples. Some of the Fidesz-owned media followed his footsteps in this homophobic rant (like Pesti Srácok), and afterwards the other Fidesz-owned newspapers wrote that “people” are outraged about the billboards, quoting the above mentioned platforms. The government was so outraged that these news were reported by CNN, Bloomberg, BBC, NBC, Reuters, Yahoo News, ect. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/05/pro-lgbt-coca-cola-ads-spark-boycott-calls-in-hungary
On September 9, 2019 Viktor Orbán said that if his candidate will be the next major of Budapest, he will change the constitution (again) to ban lesbian and gay people from adopting. Currently the law doesn’t provide any opportunities for same sex couples to have children, but they can adopt as individuals (only one of them will be the parent in a legal point of view). Orbán says this is a “hole in the legal system that needs to be fixed”. This statement was repeated by Orbán himself on several occasions after. Source: https://index.hu/belfold/2019/07/03/orban_alkotmanymodositas_onkormanyzati_valasztas_tarlos_istvan_karacsony_gergely/