Aftermath of Attacks against Budapest Pride

Posted: august 17, 2007 in ! english, politika & aktivizmus, Q pochody, Q udalosti

 Victims are afraid to make official complaints
Press release of Patent, Hungary 13.08.2007 

No victim of the queer bashings of the pride march in Budapest last month has made an official complaint lest they should be further traumatized in the judicial process. Some activists have made complaints against the organizers of the attack and the police, which failed to protect the pride march participants and participants of an after-party. The police chief of Budapest and the Justice and Police Minister are satisfied with the performance of the police. 

Not a single victim of queer bashing has made an official complaint against the criminals that beat participants of the official after-party of the Budapest Pride. The 30-day deadline for the complaint closed Tuesday or Wednesday last week (6 or 7 of August) depending on whether the attack took place before or after midnight 7 July 2007.   

One victim wrote in a public statement released in a newspaper that he was afraid that he would have to meet the perpetrators in the process and he was skeptical of the legal redress he may receive. “I am afraid to meet [the perpetrators] upon official confrontation or in the hallway at the police or in leaving. And even if I have the law to protect me, waving the Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Penal Code in the face of the 8 to 10 skinheads that surround me in a side street on my way home won’t help” reads the statement. Another victim Patent interviewed was afraid that the police officers might treat him in a humiliating way. 

Patent believes that these fears are well founded as the police exhibited homophobic and victim blaming attitudes and victim protection is still in its early stages in Hungary. As has been publicized earlier, the police refused emergency calls of victims with cynical statements such as the officer’s working hours were over. 

Activists from Patent filed official complaints against the police for not protecting the march as they believe the police committed the crime of “endangering through professional negligence.” Activists from Háttér Support Society for Gays and Lesbians filed complaints against an organizer of a right-wing group who openly encouraged violent attacks against pride participants in a television programme.  

The peaceful lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride march was attacked by a neo-Nazi mob in downtown Budapest on 7 July 2007. The crowd was following the march on a 5-mile-long route throwing eggs, bottles and “Molotov” cocktails at the march participants, some of whom needed hospitalization. According to organizations Patent, NANE and Gemini, the police failed to protect the participants by drawing up in a line between the two assemblies or by dispersing the mob. The police also failed to protect participants leaving or arriving at the after-party, when during the night neo-Nazi groups repeatedly attacked and beat participants. 

The counter-demonstration was an officially registered demonstration and its organizers were openly organizing months earlier to violently attack the pride march. Patent, NANE and Gemini believe that the Act on assembly needs to be amended so that demonstrations that are organized purposely to terrorize another event could be denied registration for the same time and place. 

The Justice and Police Minister said in a statement following the attacks that he was satisfied with the police. According to Albert Takács “throwing eggs cannot be prevented. In my opinion, the police knew what they were supposed to do, they were present in due numbers.” He also said that based on the information he received, nothing flagrant happened and there is no need to amend the act on assembly. Takács also minimized the hate crimes by calling them “minor clashes.” “I believe that the Justice and Police Minister should be able to recognize hate crimes against a minority and should not portray them as clashes between equal parties” said Gábor Kuszing of Patent. 

Meanwhile, Gábor Tóth police chief of Budapest started one internal investigation on the basis of one recorded emergency call where the officer on duty did not react adequately. He said that it is possible that the police officer will be dismissed. However he added that overall, he is satisfied with the performance of the police.

 Patent – People Against Patriarchy was founded in 2006 by professionals who had long been working in the field of violence against women and sexual minorities with the goal of changing the patriarchal social order into one that is based on the equality of women and sexual minorities. It maintains a legal aid service for discriminated and abused women, children and sexual minority people. It runs advocacy projects to change the legislation and legal practice affecting these groups.http://www.patent.org.hu (under construction currently) 

This press release is for unlimited distribution, publication or quotation.
For further information please contact Patent.

Contact for the press: 

Gábor KuszingPatent – People Against Patriarchy,
Hungarygkuszing@netstudio.hu
+36-70-2525254

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