The 2009 Budapest Pride march. (Pic:UK Gay News)

Budapest police have banned a gay Pride march scheduled for 18 June on the basis that it would hinder the flow of traffic.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association of Europe ( ILGA-Europe) said that it was appalled by the decision, describing it as a breach of the right to freedom of assembly.

The organisation urged the immediate reversal of the ban and for police to ensure that the march takes place and is protected.

“We are seriously concerned about this development,” said Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe. “Hungary currently holds the Presidency of the European Union and is surely sending the wrong signal about the Union’s respect of human rights for all.

“Indeed, such a blatant denial of the right to free and peaceful assembly goes against the EU’s fundamental principles of democracy and respect for diversity,” she said.

Peaceful LGBTI Pride marches have taken place in Budapest for several years. However, during the last few years the participants of Budapest Pride experienced attacks by nationalist and right wing extremists.

In 2007, in a ruling on a 2005 ban on a Warsaw Pride event, the European Court of Human Rights made it clear that LGBTI people are entitled to the right to peaceful assembly and expression and that the state and police have an obligation to protect LGBTI public events from violent attacks.

Paradis said that the ban adds to the deteriorating environment for LGBTI people in Hungary. She noted that in addition to a draft law limiting the depiction of same-sex couples in the media, there are efforts to amend the country’s Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

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