Hungarians protest 'Gypsy animal' remarks by politician

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.