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Page last updated at 19:17 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 20:17 UK

Hungary far-right event broken up

By Nick Thorpe
BBC News, Budapest

Hungarian Guard members in Szentendre. Photo: 22 August 2009
The far-right group claims to have 1,500 adherents

Police in Hungary have broken up a ceremony of the paramilitary Hungarian Guard organisation at which new members were being inducted.

Last month, a Budapest court banned the Guard, saying its activities incited fear and threatened public order.

The group appealed, saying the law on freedom of assembly and constitution guaranteed their right to exist.

A party connected to the Guard, Jobbik, won nearly 15% of the vote in June's elections to the European parliament.

This gave the party three of Hungary's 22 seats in the assembly.

The party owes at least part of its popularity to their campaign against what they call "gypsy crime". Critics accuse it of inciting racial hatred.

In a separate development, police are questioning four men arrested on Friday on suspicion of carrying out a series of attacks against the country's minority Roma population, in which six people were killed.

Black uniforms

According to the original plans of the Hungarian guard, the oath-taking ceremony for new members should have taken place in Heroes Square in Budapest.

When the police refused permission, on the grounds that the Guard is a banned organisation, the event was moved to a private location in Szentendre, just north of the capital.

Several hundred men and women in the distinctive black uniforms of the Guard arrived by bus.

A similar number of police then sealed off the area, and informed the participants that they were breaking the law.

Identity documents were checked, and the event dispersed peacefully.



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