Head of ultra-right extremist movement in Hungary reportedly commits suicide
Tamás Eszes, the boss of the ultra-right extremist paramilitary organization Véderő (Defense), was found dead in his home in the northern Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata last Thursday. According to the Hungarian media, he committed suicide. Several months ago, the activities of Eszes's ultra-right group led to sharp disputes between local Romani residents and nationalists in the village.
The Austrian Press Agency reports that police will be announcing the cause of death after an autopsy is conducted. Locals claim Eszes hung himself in a tool-shed at his farmhouse.
At the start of this year, the Véderő organization caused a ruckus in the media when it organized patrols of the area around Gyöngyöspata due to alleged "Gypsy crime" in March. Over the Easter holiday, dozens of nationalists converged on the village, where many Romani people live, to attend a training camp. More than 200 Romani children and women then rapidly left the village out of fear for their safety.
The Hungarian Government described that voluntary evacuation of the village as a "long-planned Easter trip", but did send dozens of police officers to Gyöngyöspata in response. Several days later, an extensive brawl took place in the village between the nationalists and the Roma.
In July, Eszes ran for mayor of Gyöngyöspata but was defeated by Oszkár Juhász of Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary), an ultra-right party currently seated in the Hungarian Parliament. During the election campaign, Eszes tussled with Juhász during a gathering and also attacked police who were called to the scene. A court subsequently sentenced Eszes to 18 months in prison.