MEP calls for equality at Gay Pride March

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Striving for equality and fighting discrimination are crucial European values, MEP Ulrike Lunacek, a member of the LMBT Intergroup of the European Parliament, said at the closing of this year’s Gay Pride March in Budapest on Saturday.

Speaking in a park near Parliament, where march participants held a picnic, Lunacek said that several thousands participating in the march was an important sign “not only for the Hungarian prime minister or the mayor of Budapest, but for each citizen and for our common European interests”. She also welcomed that representatives of many companies and at least 20 foreign embassies in Budapest had joined the march.

On another subject, Lunacek dismissed recent remarks by Prime Minister Viktor Orban suggesting that the European Parliament had attacked Hungary, and said that the European criticism was not directed at the country but its government. “The European Parliament is not plotting against Hungary,” she said.

Budapest’s 18th Pride March of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans-gender and queer people started off Heroes’ Square shortly after 4pm on Saturday.

The march, led by five trucks decorated with colours of the rainbow, went along Andrassy Avenue and through the inner city to end near Parliament.

The police had cordoned off the route for the march, and most of it was closed for traffic.

Politicians of the opposition Socialist Party joined the march to demonstrate the party’s support for the community. “We believe that the basis for an open and inclusive society is standing up for one another,” the party said in a statement issued earlier in the day. “Hungary cannot be successful unless its citizens live free and without fear,” the document added.

The co-ruling Christian Democrats called on participants in the march “not to provoke those not joining, families, and communities”. In a statement the party said that “gay pride should end where marchers hurt the human dignity of others”.

According to the Christian Democrats, the march “seemingly suggests openness and inclusion, but in fact it prevents one’s sexual orientation (…) from staying within the walls of a bedroom where it belongs”. The statement also referred to the march as a “travelling circus” financed by business circles and “attended by political profiteers”.

Earlier in the week, 20 foreign embassies in Budapest voiced support for the week-long Pride festival of gay culture, and Saturday’s march, its closing event.

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