Thirteen countries’ embassies, including South Africa’s, have expressed their support for the beleaguered Budapest Gay Pride, which takes place this coming weekend in Hungary.

The embassies are Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

According the event’s organisers, the countries all signed on to a statement which reads: “On the occasion of the 2009 Budapest Pride Festival, we express our support for, and solidarity with, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Hungary. We support the right of these communities to use this traditional occasion to march together peacefully and lawfully, in order to express their desire to end the silence surrounding the specific issues that affect them.”

It further read: “Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties.

In June, the extreme right wing party, Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), said that it would work with other extreme right wing political groups to stop “by all means necessary” the Gay Pride march scheduled for September 5th in Budapest.

While Budapest has celebrated Pride since 1997, the event has of late been at the centre of violent opposition. In 2007, protestors threw eggs, petrol bombs and bags filled with sand and faeces at the marchers, while shouting “Fags to the Danube, Jews to follow”. After the parade, gays and lesbians leaving a number of venues were attacked by smaller groups of extremists.

Last year, the violence started even before the Pride march: a petrol bomb was thrown at the office of the organisers, and the attack on the march was even more violent – and organised – than the previous year.

Police and city officials have pledged extra protection for Saturday’s parade.

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