Two men thought to be behind the vandalism of several statues and Jewish memorials were arrested on Friday, Budapest police announced. One suspect is the Budapest leader of the nationalist youth movement HVIM. The far-right party Jobbik subsequently demonstrated outside a city centre jail for his release from pre-trial detention.
Hundreds shot into Danube
On Friday morning, passers-by found anti-Jewish graffiti scrawled on a riverside memorial in District XIII to victims of wartime Hungarian fascists. “This is not your country, stinking Jews” was among the messages. The Hungarian Arrow Cross shot hundreds, mostly Jews, into the Danube over the winter of 1944 to 1945. A Jewish monument in the same district and the Soviet war memorial near the Parliament building were also defaced overnight.
That evening, the head of HVIM’s Budapest wing, Béla Incze, was arrested along with a suspected accomplice. The pair were traced to their Budapest flat following crime scene investigations and “wide-ranging intelligence gathering”, Budapest Police Headquarters told state news agency MTI. Cans of spray paint were seized at the suspects’ flat, police alleged.
Jobbik sees no problem
Jobbik lawmaker Gyula Zagyva led a protest outside the Markó utca jail in District V on Sunday. Zagya told a small gathering that there was “not a gramme of evidence” against the nationalist youth leader, who had been remanded in custody. Graffiti such as that on the riverside monument can be treated as a “piffling matter”, he said. Zagyva is the honorary president of the HVIM, whose full name is a reference to the greater Hungary of a century ago.
Vandals had written insults to Péter Dániel, an activist who in May poured red paint over a new statue to Hungary’s authoritarian inter-war leader Miklós Horthy, who steered the country into the Second World War as an ally of Hitler’s Germany. Dániel’s action has sparked a series of apparently tit-for-tat anti-Semitic and anti-fascist vandalism around the country.