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Hungary court allows far-right rally before Jewish congress

Marton Gyongyosi, a leader of Hungary's third-strongest political party Jobbik, attends an interview with Reuters in Budapest December 3, 20
Marton Gyongyosi, a leader of Hungary's third-strongest political party Jobbik, attends an interview with Reuters in Budapest December 3, 20

By Gergely Szakacs

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A Hungarian court has given the go ahead for a far-right protest on Saturday before an international conference of Jewish leaders in Budapest, saying a police ruling that banned it was belated and unlawful.

But Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who had ordered the police ban, said the court ruling was "unacceptable" and has asked the president of the Supreme Court to intervene and the interior minister to stop the rally.

The rally, to be held near parliament, will feature speeches from leader of the far-right Jobbik party and Marton Gyongyosi, a Jobbik lawmaker whose call for Jews to be registered on lists as threats to national security was condemned internationally.

The rise of far-right movements and anti-Semitism across Europe, notably in Hungary, where more than half a million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, will be the focus of the World Jewish Congress when it meets in Budapest on Sunday.

Police had barred the rally after the order by Orban to prevent any disturbance around the three-day congress, but a Jobbik lawmaker brought the case to try to reinstate it.

"The court has established that the conduct by police, banning the event on the basis of unfounded presumptions, represented a serious violation of the law," the Budapest Public Administration and Labor Affairs Court said in the ruling published on its website on Friday.

It said that police, which banned the protest more than two weeks after it was first announced, had also exceeded the 48-hour time limit to assess the legality of any event.

A police spokesman said after the ruling the rally could now be held legally, however Orban said he still wanted it halted.

"I have instructed the interior minister to use all lawful means to prevent the event, which goes against the constitution," the prime minister said in a statement.

Orban's conservative government, which surged to power in 2010, has repeatedly condemned provocative remarks by Jobbik lawmakers in parliament.

Jobbik became the third largest party in parliament in 2010 after vilifying the Roma minority in its campaign platform and attracting voters frustrated by a deepening economic crisis.

Gyongyosi later apologized for his call for a Jewish list but did not resign. On Sunday, the chairman of a Hungarian anti-racism group was attacked by far-right soccer fans at a game after he confronted people chanting Nazi slogans.

The demonstration titled "Remembering the victims of Bolshevism and Zionism" is due to be held from 0800 GMT on Saturday.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Alison Williams)

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