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Thousands attend anti-Nazi rally in Hungary capital

Several thousand people attended an anti-Nazi rally Sunday afternoon in Budapest organized civic groups to protest a far-right lawmaker's call to screen Jews for national security risks.
The rally was unusual because politicians from both the government and opposition parties shared a stage outside parliament.
 Márton Gyöngyösi of the far-right Jobbik party said Monday in the legislature it was time "to assess ... how many people of Jewish origin there are here, and especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who represent a certain national security risk."
Gyöngyösi later softened his words and apologized to "our Jewish compatriots" for his statement, however added that Hungary needed to be wary of "Zionist Israel and those serving it also from here."
Antal Rogán, parliamentary caucus leader of the governing Fidesz party, addressed the crowd, which Hungarian media estimated at over 10,000 people. "I came because in this situation I cannot stay quiet," Rogán said. Rogán rejected all "racist expressions" or the "belittling of the suffering and death of innocent millions".  Rogán said "a genocide is always preceded by lists" and said it was unacceptable that "people should fail to learn the lessons of the past 100 years". No Hungarian citizen should be humiliated or stigmatised because of his religion or ethnicity, Rogán added. 
Rogán said he would take his two sons to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where it is estimated that one-third of the Nazis' victims were Hungarian.
Speaking on behalf of electoral movement Együtt 2014 (Together 2014), former prime minister Gordon Bajnai called for broad cooperation in the fight against neo-Nazi ideology.  "We want to live together in peace in a country where it is a fundamental right to live without fear," Bajnai said, adding that anti-Semitic or anti-Roma remarks could never be dismissed as harmless. "Nazism is not compatible with life," he said. "One must cooperate with all potential partners to fight Nazism, but they must never cooperate with the Nazis just to gain power," said Bajnai. 
Attila Mesterházy said his opposition Socialist Party would boycott Parliament's foreign affairs committee as long as Gyöngyösi remained its vice chairman. Mesterházy called on Fidesz to use its two-thirds majority in parliament and join an initiative by small leftist party Democratic Coalition led by former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, to "quarantine" Jobbik. He also called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to make a statement about Jobbik in the next parliamentary session on Monday.
 An MTI correspondent reported from the site that demonstrators from all over Hungary were holding signs with the names of their towns and villages as well as anti-Nazi and anti-Jobbik slogans. US Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis and Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor were also in attendance. 
Jobbik president Gábor Vona, however, said the protest was part of an "artificially induced campaign of lies" meant to divert attention away from Hungary's economic problems and that the groups that took part in the rally wanted to "destroy" Jobbik.
Source: ABC news,

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11

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