(AFP) – Jul 5, 2008
BUDAPEST (AFP) — Forty-five people were taken into custody and 10 others were injured in clashes between police and homophobes during a gay rights march in the Hungarian capital Saturday, reports said.
About 450 people took part in the march in central Budapest when extremists began throwing explosive devices, eggs, cobblestones and bottles at police and the marchers.
Police seized chemicals and Molotov cocktails from a six-member group waiting for the demonstrators in an uninhabited flat along the route of the march.
Liberal member of Parliament Gabor Horn was hit and a police car carrying former undersecretary Gabor Szetey -- the first openly gay Hungarian politician -- and member of the European Parliament Katalin Levai was also attacked, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.
Three media trucks were damaged by protesters.
Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the extremists gathering around the fenced-off marchers in Heroes' Square. The demonstrators could leave the scene in a corridor leading to an underground station.
Last weekend, gay pride marches in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria were also disrupted.
A report by the European Union's rights watchdog found Tuesday that a third of EU states are still failing to ensure equal rights for gays and lesbians.
The report by the Vienna-based EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) found that only 18 of the EU's 27 members afforded equal rights for gays and lesbians in the areas of employment, housing, social aid and access to services.
And it noted there was little available data showing the number of discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation.
There was still a persistent social stigma which meant gays, lesbians and transsexuals were unwilling to describe themselves as such, it concluded.
The report which was commissioned by the European Parliament to help it draw up a European directive on discrimination also pushed for a more widespread right to marriage for same-sex couples.
The Czech Republic and Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 while Bulgaria became an EU member last year.
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