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Gay parade - police keep close watch over parade route

    16 January 2021 Saturday

    Police were out in force on Saturday to supervise the gay parade in Hungary's capital, where authorities are preparing for possibly violent attacks by far-right mobs.The route from Elizabeth Sqaure near the Danube proceeds along one of Budapest's most elegant tree-lined boulevards, Andrassy Street, to the other side of the city, at Felvonulasi Square.

    Police have erected metal cordons on both sides of the street along the entire street to protect the participants from any possible attacks. Surveillance equipment including powerful lamps and CCTV have also been set up.

    So far no incidents have been reported.

    Two hours before the parade was about to begin, more than 20 police buses had gathered at Elizabeth Square and another 50 police minibuses were expected to arrive with hundreds of riot police. A police helicopter is also supervising the event, said an MTI correspondent.

    The underground which runs beneath Andrassy Street has also been closed to the public.

    Police in and around the city have reported more and more sightings of gathering skinhead youths dressed in black fatigues.

    The parade is due to start at 1600 hours local time from Elizabeth Square. A counter-demonstration by private individuals, which has police permission, will run in parallel.

    At last year's gay parade and during its aftermath, several gay activists and bystanders were attacked by far-right thugs.

    Recently, two gay bars in the city were attacked with petrol bombs. No one was seriously hurt in the incidents.

    Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky said in a statement on Saturday that he was unable to attend the parade but he sent a message of support.

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