Photo: János Bődey / Index
HCLU represented us successfully on the Metropolitan Court of Budapest. Our report below is based on the statement of HCLU. Thank you for the excellent legal representation!
With HCLU's help we challenged the extremely strict safety requirements regarding the Budapest Pride March on the Court. Joining to the Pride March from any intersection is allowed according to the decision of the Metropolitan Court of Budapest.
We secure the safety of the participants with advanced security practice which is developing by each year. This year’s Pride March will be held on July 6th and departs from Kossuth tér. We informed the Budapest Police Headquarters on the date and departing location as soon as possible. However, the Budapest Commissioner of Police was willing to acknowledge the Pride March only under the condition of keeping the event “between the cordons”. The police would evacuate and hermetically close the gathering points and the participants could only join the march at three (3!) entrance points.
For years, we have been working on easing the oversecuring of the event, as a hermetically closed march, where no one can join on the way, wouldn’t convey the message of freedom and openness. Due to our detailed and sustained work over the years, the march has developed a security mechanism consisting of 250-300 organizers, march steward groups, human rights observers with cameras, which made it possible last year for the participants to join the march at any point. Despite of the anti-protests, in recent years the risk of violent attacks, similar to the events of ten years ago, has decreased. Nevertheless, the Commissioner has played it rough this year. By taking advantage of the new Assembly Law, he ordered us in a restrictive decision to work with a prescribed method in order to secure the march.
We challenged the decision on the Metropolitan Court of Budapest with HCLU's help. This decision obliges the Commissioner of Police to accept the same security and safety practice that has been applied last year, and that the police refused to discuss earlier this year. According to the decision, the participants can join the Pride March at every intersection. You can read the decision here in Hungarian.
In spite of the favorable outcome regarding the Pride’s openness, the reasoning of the judgement is not satisfactory. The police argued the security of the participants, however, the Court stated that closing the march hermetically is necessary for defending the freedom and rights of the people who are not participating in the Pride March. Neither did the Court explain the reason behind the different starting arguments, nor how a hermetically closed march would defend the rights of the non-participants from the violent anti-protesters.
HCLU was confused by the police’s rigidity, thus we are happy that the Court has made a decision in favor of the freedom of gathering. It’s a pity that the decision doesn’t clarify on what factual evidence the police has based on its assumption regarding the violent anti-protesters’ hindering activities this year; and that the only way is to secure the Pride March is to hermetically close the route of the march with cordons. Especially given that in the past two years some parts of the march didn’t have cordons, and no noteworthy conflict happened.
During the trial the Pride organizer was represented by the leader of HCLU's legal-aid service, dr. Tivadar Hüttl, lawyer.
The original statement of HCLU in Hungarian: https://tasz.hu/cikkek/birosagra-mentunk-a-pride-dal-hogy-szabad-lehessen-az-idei-felvonulas?fbclid=IwAR0IiOV1OYBEvMdlrFwO8WKc4PTWSp_HN_fSeMLS-8suwARmzuzJnfpD6K0