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Hungarians protest 'Gypsy animal' remarks by politician

Published on Jan 14, 2013 6:04 AM
 
A participant of a rally holds a banner with a photo of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (right) and the governor FIDESZ party member Zsolt Bayer (left) during a demonstration organized by a small leftist party, the Democratic Coalition (DK), against racism, segregation, and hate speech in connection with a recent, anti-Roma article by journalist Zsolt Bayeran, on Jan 13, 2013 in Budapest. Several hundred members and supporters gathered in front of the headquarters of the ruling Fidesz party, of which Bayer is a member. In an article published last weekend, Bayer commented on a recent stabbing involving Roma suspects, and wrote that "a significant number of Gypsies are unsuitable for co-existence [...] These Gypsies are animals and act as animals [...] they should not be tolerated or understood but punished." -- PHOTO : AFP

BUDAPEST (AFP) - Hundreds of Hungarians gathered outside the ruling Fidesz party headquarters in Budapest Sunday to protest racist remarks made by one of the party's co-founders last week that likened Roma to "animals".

Mr Zsolt Bayer, who is also a prominent rightwing journalist, caused outrage on Jan 5 when he labelled minority Roma "animals" in a newspaper column, saying that "Gypsies", as he called them, "should not be tolerated".

The rally drew several hundred people according to the MTI news agency - a number of whom held posters that read "I'm Roma too". It was organised by the DK coalition founded by former Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.

Mr Bayer's comments followed a mass brawl and stabbing incident on New Year's Eve involving suspected Roma assailants, in a village close to Budapest. A number of protestors have called on Hungarian premier Viktor Orban to condemn the remarks and for Mr Bayer to be expelled from his party.