Police fire water cannons at fascists attacking Budapest Pride

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While hundreds of thousands peacefully enjoyed London’s gay Pride parade, Hungarian riot police were forced to use water cannons and tear gas in order to prevent fascists from throwing petrol bombs at Budapest Pride.

Police detained 45 people after right-wing demonstrators armed with petrol bombs, rotten eggs, faeces, eggs filled with acid or paint and cobblestones. They tried to disrupt the capital’s annual gay rights march.

“There was one street where literally a shower of eggs and stones was poured on us,” Gábor Kuszing of Hungarian human rights group Patent Association said.

“I was lucky to have a placard in my hand, and others used umbrellas, but most people just came in their regular clothes.”

Organisers advised participants to carry large umbrellas or wear helmets.

“This is outrageous and shameful that some 20 years after the change of regime, this is what we have … such intolerance,” Socialist European Parliament member Katalin Levai told Reuters after a stone smashed the window of a police car she was being escorted in.

Gabor Szetey, a former minister who announced he was gay last year, said that the country’s Gay Pride Day should be considered no different to the country’s national pride day.

He told the marchers: “Hungary, which is a European democracy, must accept people who are different, We can’t choose whether we are gay, Roma or Jewish, but we can control our own destinies.”

The police used tear gas and a water cannon to clear the route for the marchers to leave. The police escorted the marchers to a metro station at Hősök tere, simultaneously dispersing the mob there.

Last week, two gay venues were attacked with petrol bombs. Four petrol bombs were thrown into sauna called Magnum.

Last year, Hungarian police were criticised by Amnesty International for an apparent lack of action when similar violence occurred.

Last week 60 far-right extremists were arrested in Sofia following Bulgaria’s first gay rights parade. Brno in the Czech Republic also saw violence at their gay rights celebrations last week.

Next year will see civil partnerships being introduced in 2009.