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Anti-Fascism Unites Hungary

On Sunday, Dec. 2, thousands of Hungarians stood united against anti-Semitism at a protest rally in Budapest. Politicians from the ruling and opposition parties were there, too, speaking up against the controversial remarks by MP Márton Gyöngyösi, a member of the far-right party Jobbik, which has nearly 17 percent of the seats in the Hungarian Parliament. Gyöngyösi, on Nov.26, called “for Jews to be registered on lists as threats to national security.”

This was the second such rally. The first one took place on Nov. 27, but was nowhere near as numerous, with just a few hundred people attending.

A foundation called All Together For Jerusalem had organized the Dec. 2 protest [hu], which, according to Reuters, drew around 10,000 people. (For the sake of comparison, according to the Hungarian police's estimates [hu], on the National Holiday in October, ca. 150,000 attended the government-organized event, 20,000 showed up for the citizen movement's protest, and a couple of thousand people came to the far-right party's rally.)

Gyöngyösi later apologized for his remarks, but the public debate on the far right gaining more and more support in Hungary has been re-opened – and, to some extent, it has united the Hungarian nation.

Kopó of Koppány mondja blog wrote [hu] that this was the end of Jobbik playing it nice in the Parliament:

[...] If he [Gyöngyösi] wasn't a Nazi, he wouldn't say anything like this. If Jobbik wasn't a Nazi party, they would hoot him, or at least distance themselves from him, and disqualify him from the party. But this didn't happen. Because Márton Gyöngyösi is a Nazi, and Jobbik is a Nazi party. [...]

Balázs Böcskei of the Institute for a Democratic Alternative (IDEA) wondered in a post on his blog [hu] why none of the 386 MPs left the room when “the darkness drenched them” (i.e., when Gyöngyösi was making his notorious statements).

Hungarian Spectrum wrote that on Nov. 27, one day after the incident, four MPs, including the presiding speaker, protested in the Parliament by wearing yellow Stars of David on their clothes – and so did some of the protesters outside, at the rally that took place that same day, as well as during the Dec. 2 rally.

A yellow Star of David on a protester's coat. Dec. 2, 2012. Photo by Redjade, used with permission.

At the Dec. 2 rally, the following politicians addressed the crowd: the current faction leader of the governing conservative Fidesz Party, Antal Rogán; the former ‘acting PM' Gordon Bajnai; and the Socialist Party's chairman, Attila Mesterházy. The largest Hungarian online citizen movement, ‘One Million for the Freedom of Press in Hungary’ [huen], noted on their blog [hu] that the time had come for Hungarians to think over the situation in the country:

[...] The joint protest is a good opportunity to express not only our indignation and the deep denouncement of the Nazi speech revoking the darkest times, but also a chance to ask ourselves this question: why and how has Hungary got so far that today the educated world is a shocked observer of what's going on in the Parliament in Budapest. [...]

Protesters at the Dec. 2 rally. Photo by Redjade, used with permission.

The bloggers of Kettős Mérce pointed out [hu] that the speakers hardly talked about the issues concerning Roma or LGBTQ people in Hungary. The bloggers also suggested to put the blame for the current situation in the country on all political parties:

[...] And though many sentences have been said about what kind of mistakes committed by the Hungarian right wing and the conservatives resulted in Hungary getting this far; it was sad that the mistakes of the Hungarian left wing and the liberals have hardly been mentioned. Yet they share the responsibility!

If next time someone is protesting against discrimination and fascism, we hope these things will come to their minds, so then we will have a chance to attend an even better protest.

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