At least six were injured and 15 arrested as far-right protesters clashed with police, threw stones and petrol bombs and damaged shops and cars along Andrassy Boulevard in Budapest Sept. 20. Police fired tear gas and water cannons on the protesters—many wearing swastikas and chanting anti-Semitic slogans. Police moved in after a right-wing mob attacked people leaving a pro-tolerance rally called by the Hungarian Democratic Charter movement and Roma organizations.
An estimated 1,000 supporters of the far-right Jobbik Party and youth organization Sixty-four Counties gathered at Heroes’ Square to march along Andrassy Boulevard to the anti-violence rally. Many wearing ski masks and carrying the red-and-white stripes associated with Hungary’s radical right, the protesters converged on Szabadsag Square, where the Charter demonstration, attended by some 4,500 people including Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, was being held, and attacked attendees as they tried to leave the square. After police moved in, they retreated back up Andrassy Boulevard, smashing shop windows, vandalizing parked cars and setting a police car on fire. The injured included an elderly woman and five police.
Laszlo Toroczkai, a leader of Sixty-four Counties, said that the protesters were “warriors to save Hungary” in a fight which was provoked by Gyurcsany and Roma leader Orban Kolompar. Another rightist leader, Gyorgy Budahazy, called the pro-tolerance rally a “plot between Jews and gypsies.” (The Budapest Times, Turkey, Sept. 21; AlJazeera, Sept. 21)