Hungarians shout slogans during a demonstration against the
far-right opposition Jobbik party in front of the
Parliament building in Budapest. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Around 10,000 Hungarians have protested 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
"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 apologised 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.
Jobbik was registered as a party in 2003 and won increasing
influence from 2006 onwards. In 2010 it became the
third-biggest party in parliament on a campaign vilifying the
Roma minority and attracting voters frustrated by a deepening
The party has retained support in the recession-hit central
European country and some analysts said it could hold the
balance of power between centre-right Fidesz and the
left-wing opposition in the next elections in 2014.
Attila Mesterhazy, leader of the biggest opposition party,
the Socialists, said "fascism is a virus and Jobbik is the
one spreading this virus". He called on Prime Minister Viktor
Orban to speak up in parliament on Monday to condemn Jobbik.
JOBBIK DISMISSES "ALARMISM"
Jobbik dismissed the protest as "political alarmism" in a
statement on Sunday, adding that its opponents' comments
reflected desperation over the rise of the party's support.
The government condemned Gyongyosi's remarks in a statement
on Tuesday, pledging to do "everything" to suppress
extremist, racist and anti-Semitic voices.
The protesters, who gathered in wintry temperatures, demanded
immediate action against the far right and welcomed the rare
manifestation of unity from politicians at the rally.
"I have come because eight members of my family were taken
away (by the Nazis) and only four returned home," said Andor
"Jobbik has crossed many boundaries, they should not have a
place in parliament."
Businessman Gyorgy Sarkozy, 43, said: "It's very important to
be here in person, all of us, to protest against what's
happening in Hungary now. This is the shame of the world,
this fascist movement.
"Perhaps now we will see such joining of forces which will
not only restrain their (Jobbik's) rhetoric but also this
whole Nazi party. This is a Nazi party."
About 500,000 to 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the
Holocaust, according to a memorial centre in Budapest. Some
survivors reached Israel. Some 100,000 Jews now live in