On February 11, far-right organisations annually commemorate the anniversary of the breakout from the siege of Budapest during WWII in 1945. This year, against the police ban placed on most of the gatherings, hundreds, if not thousands, rallied in the Castle District of Budapest.
On February 11, far-right organisations annually commemorate the anniversary of the unsuccessful breakout of SS and Honvéd troops from the Soviet siege of Budapest during WWII in 1945. In 2023, three out of six announced rallies in the Castle District of Budapest were banned by the police, which were to be held under the pretence of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Nevertheless, the police were on high alert on Saturday, as anti-fascists from different countries and Hungary were also planning to hold counter-demonstrations, reports the tev.hu.
Despite the police ban on rallies around the Vienna Gate of the Castle District, the rally announced for Saturday at 1 pm was attended by many people. According to media sources, there could have been hundreds, even thousands, of people in the square.
The police did not allow the demonstrators to march to the Vienna Gate Square, where members of the anti-fascist movement, who travelled to Budapest from Germany, were gathering. According to information from the scene, some far-right demonstrators attempted to enter the site despite the ban, but police prevented the two gatherings from meeting at all points. However, according to various press reports, neo-Nazis and anti-fascists clashed in several places.
According to Mandiner, the clash was bound to happen, foreshadowed by the Friday attack in the 11th district, when a gang of people wearing ski masks attacked a man and seriously harmed him. It is thought that the perpetrators may have been German anti-fascists.
The Hungarian left-wing online news site Mérce also quotes a press release from the far-right party Hatvannégy Vármegye, which reports a video recording of the incident. According to those who released the footage, the attackers, armed with pepper spray and vipers, were German anti-fascists hunting neo-Nazis. The newspaper’s correspondent also reported that a German journalist was assaulted by unknown neo-Nazis in the Normafa area. A group of anti-fascists and a group of neo-Nazis allegedly confronted each other at the Fisherman’s Bastion. According to Mérce, the far-right threw things at the anti-fascists, but no injuries were reported. Several media sources reported clashes between the two groups at several Budapest locations.
The Communications Department of the Budapest Police Headquarters (BRFK) said in response to a question from Mandiner that „the case is currently under investigation against unknown perpetrators on suspicion of armed group rioting. The BRFK is investigating all the circumstances of the case”.
Photo credit: Bálint Szajki / 24.hu