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HUNGARY

Police Chief Bans Budapest Gay Pride

 

Says it will disrupt traffic

June 13 Update: Police Approve Budapest Gay Pride March The chief of Budapest police has today reversed his decision earlier this week to ban the city’s Gay Pride march next month.
 

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BUDAPEST, June 12, 2008  –  Budapest police chief Dr. Gábor Tóth has banned the Gay Pride March, it emerged last night.

The march, which Dr. Tóth said would disrupt traffic in the city, was scheduled to take place on Saturday July 5 on Andrássy, one of Budapest’s main streets.

In a joint statement last night, LGBT groups in Budapest said they were “appalled” at the decision.

“The march is planned to proceed in one of the central streets of Budapest, Andrássy, the site of several earlier LGBT marches and other demonstrations,” the joint statement said.

“In our opinion and experience dating back several years, the march that takes up half of the broad road does not hinder the light Saturday afternoon traffic to an extent that would warrant its banning.  Thus the reason given by the police seems only a pretext to make the march impossible, similar to Poland or Russia.

“The suggestion by the police to hold a [static] event in a remote area would really only result in the event being hidden away from publicity, making one of its aims, increasing the visibility of LGBT people, impossible.”

Equally appalled is the European arm of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

“We are appalled by the decision of the Budapest police chief,” said Patricia Prendiville, executive director of ILGA-Europe.

Speaking from Brussels, she continued:  “We consider his decision as a sign of giving in to the threats of ultra nationalists.  The traffic hindrance explanation and an earlier suggestion to the LGBT activists to organise a stationary event in an area remote from the city centre are just excuses for the unwillingness of the Budapest police chief to take his responsibilities seriously to ensure order.

“One of the main objectives of any LGBT Pride March is to raise visibility for the LGBT community and communicate the community’s concerns and issues to the wider public.

“The police should not be preoccupied with making their lives and jobs easier by banning the demonstrations or sending the participants away from the public,” she pointed out.

“It is the duty of the police to ensure that each citizen or group of citizens has a right to assemble, and express their view and opinions without interference.  The law in Europe and Hungary on this subject is clear and the police are there to obey and enforce the law.”

Peaceful LGBT Pride Marches have taken place in Budapest for years.

However, last year the participants of Budapest Pride March experienced attacks by right wing extremists.  Unfortunately the situation where some individuals use violent and illegal methods to limit the freedom of expression and assembly for LGBT people by attacking them is not uncommon in a number of European countries.

The European Court of Human Rights has extensive case-law on the issue of the freedom of assembly and expression.  The Court has confirmed that LGBT people are equally entitled to the right to peaceful assembly and expression.

The Court also stated in a number of decisions that the freedom of assembly and expression is one of the central rights in a democratic society and the state and the police have a positive duty to ensure this right is guaranteed with minimal restriction.

“We call on the police chief of Budapest to refrain from an arbitrary interpretation of the Act on Assembly in order to restrict LGBT people’s and their friends’ right to assembly, and to take notice of the demonstration without banning it,” Gay Pride organisers in Budapest say.

“We call on the police not to try to prevent the attacks against the march by banning the march, instead they should do their job and protect the marchers from expected neo-Nazi attacks.”

SEE ALSO

Police Approve Budapest Gay Pride March The chief of Budapest police has today reversed his decision earlier this week to bam the city’s Gay Pride march next month.

European Fury at Gay Pride March Ban.  There has been anger today in the European Parliament over the ban on Budapest Gay Pride by the city’s police chief Dr. Gábor Tóth for traffic congestion reasons.  (UK Gay News, June 12, 2008)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.  

Posted: 12 June 2008 at 12:00 (UK time)

 



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