Hungary bans far-right protest ahead of WJC meet

Authorities to stop any disturbance surrounding annual conference of Jewish leaders in Budapest; PM to address anti-Semitism.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary on Tuesday banned a rally by farright protesters scheduled for the day before an international conference of Jewish leaders opens in the capital.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has instructed police to prevent any disturbance around the World Jewish Congress, which is set to begin on Sunday and expected to express concern over rising anti-Semitism across Europe.
“The captain of Budapest city police has banned an anti-Bolshevik and anti-Zionist demonstration organized in parallel with the opening of the World Jewish Congress,” the government said in a statement.
Orban will address the congress on Sunday, where he will send a clear message against anti-Semitism, an aide said.
The government has also expressed sympathy with Ferenc Orosz, the head of a Hungarian anti-racism group who was attacked by far-right soccer fans after he confronted people chanting Nazi slogans at a match on Sunday.
“Minister of the Interior Sandor Pinter has assured the members of the government that he will take all possible actions to apprehend the perpetrators so they may feel the full weight of justice,” the government statement said.
Orosz heads the Raoul Wallenberg Association, formed in tribute to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.
Jewish and rights groups say anti-Semitism remains a significant problem in the central European country. A leader of its farright Jobbik Party in November called for lists of prominent Jews to be drawn up to protect national security.
Orosz said he tried to silence the supporters chanting Nazi slogans at the game in Budapest. Some members of the group called him a “Jewish communist” and he was approached by two men afterwards, one of whom hit him, breaking his nose.
“Since Jobbik got into parliament [in 2010], hate speech has gained a lot more ground,” Orosz told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference about hate speech on Monday.
Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog said he was shocked to hear of the attack against a “companion in arms and an old friend” of both himself and Orban.
“Ferenc Orosz was assaulted because he spoke out against hate speech. However, this foul deed has not dissuaded us and in fact has strengthened our resolve to take the most decisive possible action against all manifestations of hate speech and behavior in the future,” Balog said.
“The blows were sustained not only by the chairman of an organization that stands up for human rights, and a member of FIDESZ [Alliance of Young Democrats], but are also an assault against all Hungarian people of good heart,” Balog said.
More than 500,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust after Hungary sided with the Nazis in World War II.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.