'Love equals Love': Irish MEP attends Budapest Pride as thousands demonstrate in Berlin

'Love equals Love': Irish MEP attends Budapest Pride as thousands demonstrate in Berlin

People take part in the Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin Picture: dpa/AP)

"Love equals Love," said Fine Gael MEP, Maria Walsh before the start of Budapest Pride, 2021. 

The Midlands North-West MEP was attending what organisers have described as the biggest Pride march in Budapest in the event's 26-year history. 

Nearly 30,000 people attended the demonstration according to organisers with many turning out to oppose new legislation introduced by Viktor Orbán's government. 

Last month, Hungary's parliament adopted a bill that will ban any reference to LGBTQ+ people in educational materials, on prime-time TV, or shows and films aimed at children.

This has prompted mass criticism across the European Union (EU) and the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said "moral pressure" must be put on Viktor Orbán's government regarding LGBTQ+ rights.

Speaking at Budapest Pride 2021, Ms Walsh, the former Rose of Tralee and member of the LGBTQ+ community said Orbán's government needs to respect the principles of the EU including "fundamental human rights and equality". 

"We are here to show support for our Hungarian rainbow family members, activists and allies. 

"We are here to shout from the roof tops that fundamental human rights and equality is a principle of the European Union and therefore needs to be respected and supported by Orbán and Fidesz here in Hungary."

"It's fantastic to see young and old, family units, members of our Trans community, here from Budapest Pride 2021. Love equals Love," she said. 

Meanwhile, in Germany, around 35,000 revellers have marched for LGBTQ rights at Berlin’s annual Christopher Street Day celebration – twice as many as had been expected.

The parade started with a call from Klaus Lederer, Berlin’s senator for culture, to make the city a “queer-freedom zone” in response to deteriorating safety for gay and lesbian people in neighbouring Poland.

(dpa via AP)

Mr Lederer said the situation in the two EU members “sends shivers down my back”.

The senator also noted that the pandemic had been particularly hard for some gays and lesbians at home as shelters were closed.

He said “there is still much work to be done”.

(dpa/AP)

Organisers of the parade had been expecting around 20,000 people amid social distancing rules and a ban on alcohol to combat the risk of new coronavirus infections.

There was no parade last year due to the pandemic, so many people took advantage of the warm sunny weather and relatively low rate of infections to take part in the last major gathering for Berlin’s Pride month.

Nearby, the United States embassy flew a rainbow flag under the American flag.

(dpa/AP)

The parade was led by five trucks that were spaced apart to give demonstrators more room as they danced past the city’s iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Organisers made repeated calls for revellers to put masks on and keep their distance – though it was not always possible due to the sheer number of people.

The celebrations were preceded by an apparent homophobic attack on a male couple in a Berlin subway late on Friday.

(dpa/AP)

Police said the men were sitting in a train when they were approached by a stranger who insulted them and then punched one of the men several times.

Other passengers intervened and he was apprehended after fleeing briefly.

Also on Friday, Bishop Christian Stablein asked during a service at Berlin’s Marienkirche for forgiveness from the LGBTQ community for the suffering caused to them by the evangelical church.

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