'Gypsy animals' remark causes uproar

2013-01-08 18:48
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

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Budapest - Remarks by a prominent Hungarian right-wing journalist and co-founder of the governing Fidesz party caused outrage on Tuesday, after he equated minority Romas to animals that "should not be tolerated".

The opposition centre-left Democratic Coalition (DK) party called on the public prosecutor to launch an investigation into the comments made by Zsolt Bayer, a close friend of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and said Fidesz should withdraw his membership.

Gordon Bajnai, a former prime minister and potential rival to Orban at the next elections due in 2014, told the left-leaning daily Nepszava that Bayer was a "stain" on Orban and Fidesz.

Students, meanwhile, said they would organise a protest flash-mob on Tuesday outside the offices of the right-wing Magyar Hirlap daily, to which Bayer is a regular contributor.

In a column over the weekend the journalist had written that: "Most Gypsies are not suitable for cohabitation. They are not suitable for being among people. Most are animals, and behave like animals."

"They shouldn't be tolerated or understood, but stamped out. Animals should not exist. In no way."

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.

DK deputy Agnes Vadai slammed the racist remarks on Tuesday, telling journalists: "It's repulsive [that] Prime Minister Viktor Orban's friend has incited genocide in a clear, deliberate and premeditated way."

Speaking on ATV television on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics "deeply" condemned Bayer's comments and said Fidesz had no room for anyone "who labels a group of people as animals”.

The article contained "sentiments offensive to democracy, defying Fidesz's democratic principles of community," Navracsics said, adding that "nobody must be put in a category based on his origin".

No sanction has been imposed on Bayer so far.

The journalist, who was one of the main organisers of the "Bekemenet" group that mobilised over 100 000 people in 2012 street rallies to support Orban and the government, has already caused uproar in the past for anti-Semitic and anti-Roma remarks.

In a 2011 article, he referred to Jews as "stinking excrement”. A year earlier, after the murder of a Romanian Olympic hand-baller in Hungary, he wrote that "most gypsies have ruptured with humanity and cohabitation with normal people".

Read more on:    viktor orban  |  hungary
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