protesters clashed with police escorting a march by gays and
lesbians through the center of Budapest on Saturday, and two
officers were injured and at least 45 demonstrators
detained, police said.
pelted the marchers with eggs, bottles and rocks, and
threw cobblestones and Molotov cocktails at police, setting
fire to a police van.
Police used water
cannon and tear gas to disperse the protesters at
several points along Andrassy Road, a boulevard in downtown
At least 45
protesters were detained and two police officers injured,
police spokeswoman Eva Tafferner said.
Katalin Levai, a
Hungarian member of the European parliament, told state
news wire MTI that protesters broke the window of a police
car she was riding in, along with Gabor Szetey, a
former state secretary who last year became the first
Hungarian government official to announce he was gay.
Levai and Szetey took part in the gay march and were leaving
the area near Heroes' Square in the police car when it
was attacked. No injuries were reported in the car.
March'' organized by gay groups began at one end of the
boulevard, while the protesters gathered at the opposite end
and at other intersections along the way.
Police tried to
protect the march by setting up high metal barriers on
both sides of the road and restricted access to the areas
where the march took place.
Most of the
clashes took place at Heroes' Square, a large open space at
the edge of City Park where a monument to historic Hungarian
leaders is flanked by two arts museums.
between the protesters and police lasted at least three
hours before appearing to wind down by about 7 p.m.
Gay groups said
they were marching partly to repudiate several recent
attacks against them. A gay bar and a massage parlor were
attacked with Molotov cocktails, but no one was
injured and little damage was done to the buildings.
many of them from ultranationalist groups, said the gay
march was ''disgusting'' and ''shameful,'' and they vowed to
''clean up the filth.''
January 2009 all Hungarians involved in long-term
relationships will be allowed to register their partnerships
and enjoy some of the benefits of married couples,
such as inheriting from each other. This will apply to
heterosexuals and gays. (Pablo Gorondi, AP)