Thousands took part in this weekend’s Pride parade in Budapest, following the Hungarian government’s passage of legislation that makes it illegal to distribute LGBTQ+-related material to minors.
Organizers estimate that 30,000 people were in attendance for Saturday’s event, according to Politico.
“In the past two years, we’ve had a government attack against the LGBTQI community, a lot of hate speech, and also adoption of restrictive legislation when it comes to transgender rights, adoption, and most recently, a Russian-style propaganda law,” Tamás Dombos, a member of the rights group Háttér Society, told the news outlet. “A lot of people came to show their support and to show that not everyone thinks like our government.”
Politico also reports that although there were small groups of right-wing protestors who intercepted the marchers on the banks of the Danube, police kept the groups apart and that there were no reports of immediate violence.
Jojo Majercsik, a spokesperson for Budapest Pride, told the Associated Press that this year’s march wasn’t just a celebration of Pride, but also a protest against the increasing anti-LGBTQ+ laws and policies put forward by Hungary’s ruling party, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
“A lot of LGBTQ people are afraid and don’t feel like they have a place or a future in this country anymore,” Majercsik said.
In the past year, Hungary has stepped up measures restricting LGBTQ+ rights. In May of last year, the government passed a law that banned trans individuals from legally changing their gender identity. In December, it passed additional legislation that prevented same-sex couples from adopting children.
The most recent legislation, passed in June, prevents the distribution of material depicting gay, lesbian, queer, or transgender subjects to minors. Last week, Orban announced on Facebook plans to hold a referendum that he hopes will show public support for the new law.
The European Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the laws of the European Union — of which Hungary is a member — launched infringement procedures against both Hungary and Poland for their increasing anti-LGBTQ+ policies, which are in violation of the Union’s charter.