Anti-facist protestors marched in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday in response to a previously banned right wing gathering to commemorate the “Day of Honour.” Activists travelled from across Europe to take part amid diplomatic tensions between Budapest and Rome, as an Italian anti-fascist activist remains imprisoned in Hungary.
Celebrations of the ‘Day of Honour’ take place annually in Budapest to remember a failed breakout attempt by 28,00 German and Hungarian troops in 1945, when the Soviet Red Army sieged the city. Right-wing activists gather to commemorate the historical event. The event was initially banned by the police this year, but this decision was overturned by a judge, allowing the demonstrations to go ahead as normal. The European Roma Rights Centre reported that German, Bulgarian, and Czech far-right groups attended this year’s event as well as members of the right-wing extremist group Blood and Honour. The demonstrators had to stay behind barriers in Városmajor park during the event.
In response to this demonstration, anti-fascist activists organized an opposition march in Budapest. Protestors “gathered to noisily demonstrate,” with anti-fascists “sounding sirens, beating drums, and blowing whistles,” reported the European Roma Rights Centre. Many Roma were also in attendance at the opposition march. Police were heavily present throughout the city to prevent clashes between the two political groups.
These demonstrations took place a year after an Italian anti-fascist activist, Ilaria Salis, was arrested and imprisoned in Hungary following the events of the ‘Day of Honour’ in 2023. Salis allegedly committed assault as she protested in opposition to the event, and has since been held in a prison in Hungary. She has appeared in court in shackles and handcuffs and could face up to 11 years if found guilty. However, criticisms have arisen regarding the conditions Salis is being held under, as media have reported presence of rats and insects as well as poor hygiene. The European Parliament has discussed reports and is set to investigate the situation of prisoners in Hungary, particularly the case of Salis.