The Budapest City Hall along with two districts displayed the rainbow flag on the front of their buildings as Pride Festival kicked-off. They promoted their gesture as historic, but it quickly turned out that not everyone is on the same page as they are. Radical football fans and later a far-right Mi Hazánk politician stripped off two of the flags overnight.
The mayor of Budapest had already promised in his campaign in October that he would put up the rainbow flag during Pride. While the Pride Parade itself has been called off due to the coronavirus outbreak, accompanying events are still being held in and around the capital from Friday onward.
By doing so, Gergely Karácsony made history, as both of his predecessors, liberal Gábor Demszky and Fidesz-backed István Tarlós, refused to give the green light to the rainbow flag during their time in office.
The 6th district (Terézváros), led by Momentum’s Tamás Soproni, and the 9th district (Ferencváros), led by independent but opposition-backed Krisztina Baranyi, also joined and displayed the rainbow flag on their district’s city hall. The former also made the news by announcing on the same day that LGBTQ couples can also access spousal benefits in his district from this September onward.
“Budapest belongs to everyone!” -this is not just a campaign slogan,” Karácsony commented on his Facebook page. “The Capital’s leadership is working to make each resident and each community feel that Budapest is their home. We do believe that Budapest should be a city of rights instead of a city of privileges, where everyone is free to stand up for their opinion, worldview and identity,” he argued.
“A tolerant city is good for all communities. Not only for those who belong to the LGBTQ community, but also for those who live their lives in a completely different way,”
he further explained.
The historic gesture, however, has already precipitated minor scandals caused by extremists. On Friday, a group of Ferencváros (FTC) radical football fans, calling themselves Aryan Greens, stripped off and set alight the rainbow flag hung on the 9th district’s town hall, supposedly after the opening game of the new season. They put their team’s flag in the place of the removed Pride flag. Moreover, their Facebook post announcing the act was first shared by radical pro-government tabloid 888.hu with the caption “This is how it’s done.” Later, the Ferencváros flag was removed and the rainbow flag put back by the mayor, one of the attackers was arrested by police, and 888 changed its wording as well.
Fél napig sem volt kint.
Közzétette: 888.hu – 2020. augusztus 14., péntek
In addition, on Sunday, far-right Mi Hazánk party leader Előd Novák, assisted by activists, climbed a 15-metre fire escape ladder and took what he called the “rainbow rag” off of City Hall and threw it in a nearby rubbish bin. His party gave the explanation that displaying the flag was “provocation”, “homosexual propaganda”, and according to them, the “anti-family symbol has no place on the street.” He has since been detained by police and a number of pro-government opinion leaders, including controversial pro-Fidesz publicist Zsolt Bayer, assured him of solidarity.
featured image via Dávid Dorosz- Facebook