Over 10,000 have come out to an anti-Nazi rally in Budapest to demonstrate against a proposal of a far-right leader to draft lists of Hungarian Jews who may represent a “security risk”. The government and opposition parties both joined the protest.
It all started when Marton Gyongyosi of the of the Hungarian Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), the country's largest far-right party, stated that it was time to determine “how many people of Jewish origin there are here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who represent a certain national security risk.”
Gyongyosi argued that this was needed because of the tensions after an eight-day attack on Gaza. He also said that Hungary's Foreign Ministry had "rushed to make an oath of allegiance to Israel."
After the statement, Gyongyosi issued an apology, but still reaffirmed that Hungary needs to be cautious of “Zionist Israel and those serving it also from here.”
The comments outraged much of the Hungarian population and led to the rally, organized by Jewish and civic groups.
Over 10,000 attended the protest outside the parliament building and crowds chanted “Jobbik go away!” according to Hungarian media.
Other protesters were seen holding billboard-size portraits of Gyongyosi with a Hitler mustache and “Heil Marci” wording underneath, referring to WWII-era German greeting.
The rally was led by politicians from both the government and opposition parties.
Parliamentary faction leader of the governing Fidesz party Antal Rogan addressed the crowd.
“I came because in this situation I cannot stay quiet,” Rogan said. “Hungary defends its citizens.”
Rogan said he is planning to take his two sons to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where it is estimated that one-third of the Nazis’ victims were Hungarian.
He added that “genocide is always preceded by lists,” arguing that it was unacceptable that “people should fail to learn the lessons of the past 100 years.”
The Israeli and American ambassadors also attended the rally.
The US embassy said in a statement BosNewsLife pointing out that these were not the first anti-Semitic comments that came out from the Hungarian parliament.
"The recurrence of anti-Semitic and other racist statements in the Hungarian parliament demonstrates the need to further empower voices of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Hungary," the statement reads.
Reportedly, Jewish people have been attacked or threatened during the past few months and several Holocaust monuments and Jewish grave yards were vandalized in Hungary.
Moreover, there were accounts of Jobbik-linked groups marching through Budapest in uniforms and carrying flags used in Hungary’s Nazi-regime.
Jobbik party president Gabor Vona responded by saying that the rally was an “artificial campaign of lies” and was designed to take attention away from country’s economic problems.
Currently, the Jewish population in Hungary is estimated at about 100,000.