Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whoopi Goldberg - Message to Budapest Gay Pride

Saturday, September 5, marked Gay Pride Day in Budapest, Hungary. To celebrate the occasion, Whoopi Goldberg sent a message of support and solidarity to the two thousand LGBT marchers.

The embassies of thirteen nations also sent messages in the form of a joint statement signed by all. Those nations included Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Read the Joint Statement from 13 embassies in Budapest:

"On the occasion of the 2009 Budapest Pride Festival, we express our support for, and solidarity with, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Hungary. We support the right of these communities to use this traditional occasion to march together peacefully and lawfully, in order to express their desire to end the silence surrounding the specific issues that affect them.

“Human rights – including justice, equality, humanity, respect and freedom of expression – and the rule of law are the foundations upon which democratic states are built. Indeed, international human rights law is grounded on the premise that all individuals are entitled to the same rights and freedoms, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“It is this respect for fundamental human values that obliges governments to protect all citizens from violence and to ensure that all people enjoy equal opportunities.

“Today, many individuals face discrimination, both systemic and overt, based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties.

Our governments` policies in this area are in accordance with the principles set out in the Joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity delivered at the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December, 2008."

The parade drew support from artists, politicians and human rights organizations around the world, as well. One anti-fascist organization in neighboring Austria shipped in busloads of activists who marched under a giant rainbow flag. Former Hungarian Prime Minister Gerenc Gyurcsany marched with his wife at his side.

Several hundred protesters were also on hand to meet this year's "March for Gay Dignity," but violence was largely prevented due to a massive contingent of security forces who accompanied the marchers. Protesters, Neo-Nazis, and skinheads were kept at bay, allowed no closer than one hundred meters to the parade route. Still, there were a few isolated incidents. An Englishman was punched in the face by a group of skinheads; a woman wearing a Pride tee-shirt was beaten at a bus stop after the parade ended. A sixty year old man protesting the event was knocked to the ground and taken to the hospital after police forced the protestors back. There were a few reports of tear gas and baton charges by the police, and more than 40 arrests were made, most for possession of weapons and riotous behavior. The majority of those arrested were released the next day.

Because of the large security contingent, there were few onlookers or well-wishers along the route, however, television news stations gave broad coverage to the march and the marchers later that evening.

Protestors, Neo-Nazis and Skinheads mingle with confused European soccer fans who were in town for a major game. The protesters are chanting "filthy fags!" and various other obscenities.

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