Hungarian Officials Fear Violent Clash at Budapest Rally

Hungarian police officers are making plans to secure an anti-fascist rally in Budapest on Thursday, organized by the Jewish and gypsy communities and student groups, as they fear a violent confrontation may ensue if Nazi activists arrive at the scene of the demonstration.

Hungary has revoked the license given to Nazi activists, who had planned a protest Friday in the heart of Budapest, according to the Jewish Agency.

Nazis had requested a permit to hold a rally to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the revolution led by Arrow Cross fascist movement leader Ferenc Szalasi. During World War Two, members of the Arrow Cross remained in Hungary for several months, under the aegis of the Nazis, until they were banished from the country by the Soviets. They murdered scores of people, including many Jews, killed liberal and anti-fascist statesmen, insisted upon continuing the Battle of Budapest against the Red Army, and led to the destruction of the Hungarian capital.

The Nazis' rally was scheduled to take place in front of a building that housed the Arrow Cross party headquarters.

The Nazis' rally was to have been held following calls made by The Hungarian Future Group. The group is lead by Diana Bacsfi, 26. Several weeks ago, group members placed pictures of Szalasi on central street in Budapest. Police were unable to find grounds for banning the group's activities. Encouraged by their success, the group stuck stickers of an arrow cross, with xx in the center. The use of the arrow cross has been banned in Hungary, as it is considered a "symbol of the dictatorial regime," but the modified version of the cross, with the xx, is allowed by police and state prosecution.

Bacsfi considers herself a national socialist, declared that her movement aims at a dictatorship, and calls for the "destruction" of the movement's political opponents. During her interrogation by police, she said recently that her movement calls for the establishment of a ministry dealing with racial matters, and for the reinstatement of the Nazi constitution. She also called Jews and gypsies "inferior races," and denied the Holocaust. Hungarian law does not forbid anti-Semitic statements.

After reports of the planned Nazi demonstration were made public, a large-scale public protest was organized. First to call for a counter-protest were leaders of the Jewish community, as well as leaders of an anti-fascist organization. Shortly thereafter, representatives from coalition parties joined them, as did representatives from the opposition parties, albeit they were hesitant to do so. Representatives from all four parties represented in the Hungarian parliament signed a declaration condemning the planned Nazi demonstration.