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August 24, 2019
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Hungary: New Fascist party establishes paramilitary group

21.5.2019 9:29
The Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary organization, was banned in 2009. PHOTO: http://fxb.harvard.edu
The Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary organization, was banned in 2009. PHOTO: http://fxb.harvard.edu

The extreme-right "Our Homeland" party in Hungary is establishing a uniformed "self-defense group" which, according to the Associated Press, is reminiscent of the Hungarian Guard organization banned by the courts several years ago. That group attacked minorities living in Hungary, Romani people in particular.

László Toroczkai, the head of the party, says the newly-created National Legion will focus first and foremost on "defending traditions" and providing basic military skills instruction. They claim to want to be able to assist in case of natural disasters and to support people facing forced evictions from their homes.

The founding ceremony for the group is planned for 1 June in Szeged. The now-banned Hungarian Guard was established by the nationalist "Movement for a Better Hungary" (Jobbik), which the courts ordered dissolved in 2009.

That paramilitary organization organized marches in settlements inhabited mainly by Romani people and also made public appearances in which they criticized the governments of Romania, Slovakia and Serbia, where members of the ethnic Hungarian minority live. Toroczkai denies that the National Legion is a successor to the Hungarian Guard, but says he wants to continue "their idealism and self-sacrificing aid".

The National Legion also, according to him, will be an umbrella organization for similar groups and claims to have a thought-through legal strategy which it will exploit if the Hungarian authorities attempt to dissolve it. Toroczkai established the "Our Homeland" party last year after he failed to be elected chair of Jobbik and the more centrist Tamás Sneider was chosen instead.

Toroczkai is infamous as an opponent of the Treaty of Trianon, which established the new borders of the Hungarian state after the First World War and exponentially reduced its territory. He says his party, despite a police ban on its plans, will march this week in the town of Törökszentmiklós in the east of the country, where a certain member of the Romani community is suspected of having killed several people for no reason.

The "Our Homeland" head said the party will appeal the ban and that the event will be held in some sort of form if their appeal fails. Vince Száva of the EKE organization, which fights for minority rights in Hungary, condemned the creation of the National Legion and said he hopes the authorities will dissolve it.

ČTK, voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Fascism, Hungary, identity



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