Arrived in Budapest, and history of the Pride

On Monday morning we arrived in Hungary, still slightly exhausted from catching an 8a.m. flight into Budapest.  However, we are looking forward to documenting Budapest Pride.

While this year the annual Budapest Pride march will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, the march has also been plagued by escalating levels of violence.  While the first 11 marches only had only minor disruptions, starting in 2007 the events have had more violent protests.  Not only eggs, but also beer cans, smoke bombs, and other trash were thrown at participants.  The ultra-nationalists have also chanted disturbing slogans like, “Queers into the Danube, Jews after them.”  After this pride eleven attacks took place on those who had participated in the Pride.  In 2008 the Police Chief tried to deny the organizers permission to hold the Pride, but this decision was soon reversed.  However, levels of violence increased with Nationalists websites encouraging violence on the LGBT community, and publishing lists of gay hangouts – some of which were later attacked with Molotov cocktails.  During the 2008 pride, bottles, rocks, firecrackers, and gasoline bombs were thrown at the participants.

Starting in 2009 the strategy of isolating the march from public view was put into practice, and this will be the same strategy employed this year.  Unfortunately, already this year Pride organizers have had to face disruptions caused by neo-Nazis.  A dozen showed up on Sunday at the opening of the Pride festival, including two who attacked a participant leaving the event.  Again, like many of the places we’ve visited, the perpetrators of these hateful actions are youths!

Anyway, it should be an eventful time documenting this Pride, and getting to know the community hosting the march.  We are spending the early part of this week attending workshops hosted by the Pride.

To see a full schedule of programs, check out:
http://www.budapestpride.hu/en

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