BUDAPEST (JTA) — Plans for an international neo-Nazi rally were suspended after Hungarian police refused permission to hold the demonstration.
The rally to mark the death of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess had been scheduled for Saturday. Several individuals and organizations had submitted a total of 13 demonstration requests.
President Laszlo Solyom and Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai had raised objections to the rally.
Hungarian police and courts, after decades of repressive Communist rule, have been anxious to uphold the democratic right of all political minorities to free expression of their opinions. Indeed, the Hungarian umbrella organization National Socialist Front said it had planned the rally in part to allow foreign neo-Nazis who are being silenced at home to air their views in Budapest.
But police spokeswoman Eva Tafferner explained that “The right of political assembly enshrined in the Constitution must not be abused to facilitate or promote law breaking or to injure the rights and freedom of other parties.”
The Hungarian Helsinki Commission, a leading human rights organization, countered that in the absence of legal reform, the police should have allowed the neo-Nazis to demonstrate, but their meeting should have been broken up at the initial display of Nazi symbols or behavior likely to cause fear in others.
The rally appeared to be aimed at exacerbating tension generated by a recent series of racially motivated murders targeting the Roma, or Gypsy, minority.