BUDAPEST, June 28, 2008 – Gay
groups in Hungary have criticised Budapest police in the aftermath of the
torching of a gay bar in the city in the early hours of yesterday.
Police are investigating the fire
as vandalism, but the LGBT community groups are demanding that an attempted
murder investigation should be launched.
At about 3am, unidentified
perpetrators threw a petrol bomb into Action, a gay bar in the centre of
The front room of the small bar
caught fire quickly as it was decorated with curtains. One of the ten or so
guests of the bar put out the fire with an extinguisher and so saved
everyone’s lives; no one was injured.
Shortly before the attack, someone
called the bar and inquired if there were any guests and how long the bar
would be open.
Then the caller went on to threaten
to attack the bar and the attack took place.
Hungarian LGBT organisations issued
a joint statement last night expressing their astonishment at how the police
are downplaying the case as vandalism instead of calling it attempted
“Vandalism is when you spray paint
on a wall,” said Gábor Kuszing of Patent, one of the signatory
“We are afraid that the police will
not investigate the case with due diligence, and this is a message that
serious crimes against LGBT people will be tolerated,” he added.
Further attacks against gay bars
and businesses are expected as a right-wing website published the addresses
of gay businesses a few hours before the attack and suggested them as
The attack comes after repeated
threats against the Gay Pride march from right-wing groups during the last
Some four counter-demonstrations
are expected to take place against the gay pride march next Saturday (July
5), and police estimate that attacks against this year’s pride will be “more
brutal” than last year.
Last year, right-wing
counter-demonstrators attacked the peaceful Pride March with eggs, bottles
and Molotov-cocktails and 11 persons were injured in ‘queer-bashings’ later
“Last year’s events and these
threats have filled the LGBT community with fear,” said Mr. Kuszing. “My
friends and family are afraid to come to the pride march and we had to
introduce strict security regulations such as checking people’s clothes and
The police have promised effective
protection not only for the march but also for the after-parties.
They have also decided to keep a
closer eye on gay establishments from now on especially during the LGBT
festival, which will take place next week.
We have been appalled to learn that
the police started investigation for the crime of vandalism against the
unknown perpetrators who set fire to a gay bar with a petrol bomb in
downtown Budapest at about 3 a.m. on 27 June 2008. Patent’s position is
that the attack against the gay bar was attempted murder, as the
perpetrators checked the fact that there were people in the bar and the
opening hours of the bar over the phone before they set fire to it. It is
only by luck and the presence of mind of those in the bar that no one was
hurt; the action was suitable to cause death.
By minimising the case as
vandalism, the police are undermining the ethical condemnation of a hate
crime against LGBT people, are weakening LGBT people’s legal security and
indirectly encourage further attacks. Therefore we are calling on the
police of the 5th district of Budapest, in charge of the case, to
conduct investigations for attempted murder, and with due diligence
corresponding to the gravity of the crime.
The attempted murder is a result of
the hate campaign that certain right-wing groups, and the Catholic church
and conservative politicians have been conducting against lesbians, gays,
bisexuals and transgender people and the LGBT festival in the past few
weeks. This case again points to the necessity for specific legislation
against hate crimes.
We are calling on the citizens of
Hungary who support the rule of law and democracy, and human rights
organisations to join the LGBT Pride March at Erzsébet tér, Budapest at 3
p.m. on July 5 as a protest against right-wing attacks threatening various
minorities in recent months.
was signed by:
Southern Plains Gay Association
For Each Other East Hungary Gay Association
Fresh Thought Youth Organisation
Editorial office of gay.hu
Háttér Support Society for Gays and Lesbians
Labrisz Lesbian Association
Lambda Budapest Association
Editorial office of Mások
Editorial office of Na végre!
Szivárvány Misszió Foundation
Police Approve Budapest Gay Pride March.
The chief of Budapest police has
today reversed his decision earlier this week to bam the city’s Gay Pride
march next month.
(UK Gay News, June 12,
Fury at Gay Pride March Ban. There has been anger today in
the European Parliament over the ban on Budapest Gay Pride by the city’s
police chief Dr. Gábor Tóth for traffic congestion reasons.
(UK Gay News, June 12,
Bans Budapest Gay Pride. Budapest police chief Dr. Gábor
Tóth has banned the Gay Pride March, it emerged last night. The march,
which Dr. Tóth said would disrupt traffic in the city, was scheduled to take
place on Saturday July 5 on Andrássy, one of Budapest’s main streets. (UK Gay News, June 12,
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
Posted: 28 June 2008 at
11:00 (UK time)