A far-right fascist group attempted to shut down Budapest Pride this weekend by blocking the parade path.
Members of the Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement clashed with marchers during the Hungarian capital city’s 23rd annual Pride parade, held on Saturday afternoon. The far-right wing group met the parade on Andrassy Road near the Kodály Körönd subway station, silently hoisting a banner reading: “Your Queerness Is Disgusting.”
In order to muffle the cheers of paradegoers, the estimated 30 protesters revved their engines.
The clash threatened to escalate into violence as the marchers reached the Oktogon metro stop, when demonstrators broke through a barrier separating the marchers from the crowd gathered along the streets. But after the momentary breach, police quickly arrived on the scene and formed a blockade to protect members of the LGBTQ community and their allies.
This reportedly wasn’t the first time that Sixty-Four Counties targeted an LGBTQ event in Hungary, but their tactics didn’t prove all that successful. After police led the fascist group away, an estimated 10,000 people marched on Saturday, which marked the 23rd Pride event in the city of 1.7 million.
Budapest’s first LGBTQ Pride parade was held in 1997 and has continued despite unsteady progress on queer and trans rights.
Nearly two-thirds of Hungarians (64 percent) oppose same-sex marriage, according to a 2016 poll from Pew Research Center. Last year Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban spoke at the 11th World Congress of Families (WCF), an event hosted by an organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
In his speech, Orban accused pro-marriage equality European Union leaders of promoting a “relativising liberal ideology that’s an insult to families.”
But this year’s Pride festival signaled hope for further movement on equality. During closing remarks delivered at the city’s Kossuth Square, the news website Hungary Today reported that Pride banners were hung next to EU flags in the windows of Parliament.
Meanwhile, 34 countries expressed their support for Budapest Pride prior to the march.
Conchita Wurst, 2014 winner of the Eurovision contest, called for further progress at the official Pride after party on Saturday night. The Austrian singer and drag artist claimed in a brief speech that the standoff with right-wing groups earlier that day showed that “the rights of the LGBTQ community are not where they should be.”
“The people who went to the Pride and were on the verge of being attacked by right-wing demonstrators showed great courage, and I want to highlight this situation,” Wurst said.