Ombudsman: Police must protect marchers leaving events

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

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The police has an obligation to offer protection to participants of peaceful marches or demonstrations, and this applies also to the period when participants are leaving the event, Hungary’s human rights ombudsman told MTI on Tuesday.

Mate Szabo said in a statement that he had investigated whether the rights of people attending the 18th Budapest Pride festival organised by the LGBTQ community last Saturday were violated.

He said results of the investigation showed that police succeeded in providing protection to the estimated 4,000 people at the event so that members of the Budapest Pride could practice their right to free assembly and to ensure that they were not disturbed by anti-gay marchers, who numbered about 300, according to police estimates.

Szabo said he had been informed by police that several arrests were made after the festival on grounds of violence against members of a community, but not during the actual march.

Police said on its website on Tuesday that it was looking into a report of a racist attack that followed the Budapest Pride. They were investigating unidentified suspects who, as a group, committed violence against members of a community, police said.

Three people were attacked in Budapest’s fifth district on Saturday, and suffered injuries which required medical attention, according to a police report.

The SZEMA Liberal Party told MTI on Saturday evening that three of its members had been attacked by a group of some 30 “uniformed neo-Nazis” near Budapest’s Nyugati railway station after the march. SZEMA said police were quick to intervene but they only registered the data of the victims and let the racist attackers go.

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