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Police break up Hungarian guard ceremony

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BUDAPEST (JTA) — An induction ceremony for a Hungarian extremist paramilitary organization was broken up by police.

Saturday’s ceremony for the New Hungarian Guard, held on private grounds at Szentendre, north of the capital, was attended by some 500 people. Many of them
shouted "Filthy Jews!" at the invading police.

The police’s intervention Saturday failed to prevent the guard from swearing in hundreds of new recruits or from forming a Gendarmerie, or armed police force, within the organization. The police say individuals identified donning the guard’s proscribed black-and-white uniform face heavy fines.

The guard’s main concerns are the allegedly undue influence of Jews in public affairs and what its leaders describe as "Gypsy crime."

A Budapest court last month banned the guard for endangering public order and generating fear among Hungary’s racial minorities. The latest rally was an
unsuccessful attempt by the organization to circumvent the will of the courts by reinventing itself as a different entity called the "New" Hungarian Guard.

Meanwhile, Hungarian police arrested four suspects suspected of a series of lethal attacks on isolated Roma communities during the past year.  

József Bencze, the national police chief, said last night that the arrests, carried out Friday in a commando raid on a local nightspot, had been staged in haste to prevent another attack already in an advanced stage of preparation. Further arrests may follow, he said.

Both President László Sólyom and Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai have publicly congratulated the police for bringing the serial killings to an end.

"This brings us welcome relief, but the fight must go on against bigoted radical criminals endangering… the safety of our minority communities," Bajnai said.

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