BUDAPEST (JTA) — A banned neo-Nazi paramilitary group relaunched itself under a new name at a mass meeting in Budapest.
The Hungarian Guard also relaunched as the Hungarian Guard Movement at several smaller meetings staged throughout the country.
Nearly 3,000 supporters attended Sunday’s meeting in Budapest, while several hundred came to rallies in Bekescsaba, Szolnok and Mezotur. Rally participants waved flags and regalia resembling those of the murderous wartime Hungarian Arrow-Cross. A separate demonstration, also in Budapest, demanded the release of Gyorgy Budahazy, a radical rightist activist held on terrorism charges.
Also Sunday, about 400 mostly elderly protesters attended a Budapest rally in support of the government facing down the Guard.
Hungarian courts ordered the Guard to be disbanded recently on the grounds that it generated ethnic tension and threatened public order. However, the latest appeals court ruling does not impinge on the general right of peaceful assembly. The Guard now claims to be a movement.
Legal experts say this contravenes the will and purpose of the courts.
Supporters at the Budapest rally arrived in civilian clothes but many later donned Guard uniforms. They included Gabor Vona, chairman of the neo-Nazi Jobbik Party, and Lajor Fur, a former Hungarian minister of defense. Vona announced that should he win a seat in the next national elections, as expected, he would enter parliament wearing the Guard uniform.
Viktor Orban, leader of Fidesz, the dominant parliamentary opposition widely expected to form the next government within a year, has said his party would never enter a coalition with Jobbik.