Page last updated at 14:02 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Hungary's far-right to defy court

Members of the Hungarian Guard. File photo
The group claims to have 1,500 adherents

A far-right group in Hungary accused of persecuting the Roma (Gypsies) minority has said it will defy a court order banning the organisation.

The Hungarian Guard Association said it was a movement not a party and could not be dissolved by a court order.

The organisation regularly marches in uniform through Roma-populated areas in protest at what it calls "Gypsy crime".

On Tuesday, a Budapest court ordered the group to be dismantled for racial discrimination against the Roma.

The Hungarian government and Roma groups welcomed the verdict.

But the Guard Association - which claims to have 1,500 adherents - said it would continue its activities as before.

The group's president, Gabor Vona, told the BBC that the court ruling was a blow to Hungarian democracy.

"As with all previous attacks, this will only increase the number of our recruits," Mr Vona said.

Critics say the association - which was formed last year - is fascist, but its supporters describe it as patriotic.

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