Thousands rally against far right in Hungary

Sun Dec 2, 2012 2:18pm EST
 
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By Krisztina Than

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Around 10,000 Hungarians protested on Sunday against the far-right opposition Jobbik party, after one of its lawmakers triggered outrage and memories of Nazism by calling for lists of Jews to be drawn up.

The rally outside Budapest's parliament brought together leaders from governing and opposition parties in an unprecedented show of unity in the country's deeply divided political scene.

"We cannot allow things which belong to the darkest pages of history books to repeat themselves," Antal Rogan, head of the ruling Fidesz party's parliamentary group, told demonstrators who waved national flags and demanded the resignation of Jobbik MP Marton Gyongyosi.

On Monday Gyongyosi, one of Jobbik's 44 lawmakers in the 386-seat parliament, said after a debate on fighting in the Gaza Strip it would be "timely" to tally up people of Jewish ancestry in Hungary who posed a national security risk.

He later apologized and said his remarks had been misunderstood, adding that he was referring only to Hungarians with Israeli passports in the government and parliament. But he said he would not resign.

"We do not want to live together with such malicious racist comments which we heard from Marton Gyongyosi, lawmaker of Jobbik, on Monday in parliament," Rogan said.

Former prime minister Gordon Bajnai of the centrist Egyutt (Together) 2014 movement said Gyongyosi's remarks revealed the true nature of Jobbik and parties should join forces against the far right.

"If we want a new era of normality in politics in Hungary then this is the number one moral order: one must team up with everyone against the Nazis, but must not team up with the Nazis not even for power," Bajnai told the rally.   Continued...

 
A defaced photo of Marton Gyongyosi, a leader of Hungary's far-right political party Jobbik, is seen on a placard during a demonstration against Nazism in front of the Parliament building in Budapest December 2, 2012. The rally was held after a Hungarian far-right opposition politician urged the government to draw up lists of Jews in Hungary's Parliament and government who pose a "national security risk", stirring outrage among Jewish leaders who saw echoes of fascist policies that led to the Holocaust. The government released a terse condemnation of the remarks. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo