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Record turnout at Budapest Holocaust march amid rising racism

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A record 10,000 Hungarians took part here Sunday in an annual march to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, amid rising racism and anti-Semitism in the country in recent months.

Over 10,000 people, more than double the usual turnout, participated in the "March for Life", according to an AFP count, alongside government and opposition members, and the ambassadors of Israel and the United States.

"It's important that future generations also learn the lessons from the Holocaust," organiser Laszlo Bandi told the crowd at the start of the event in downtown Budapest.

Hungarian Jews have complained of increased verbal attacks in the past year and observers have accused the centre-right government of stoking anti-Semitism, paying tribute to wartime leader Miklos Horthy, an ally of Adolf Hitler, and rehabilitating some anti-Semitic writers.

Last month, a state honours list for cultural personalities included a prominent TV presenter and a musician both known for anti-Semitic and racist views.

The World Jewish Congress has said it will hold its annual assembly in Budapest next month to show solidarity with Hungary's Jews who are facing "exceptionally strong and aggressive anti-Semitic voices".

A small group of neo-Nazis tried to disturb Sunday's march but was dispersed by police. The interior ministry already banned last week a neo-Nazi biker parade that was planned for Sunday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130421/record-turnout-at-budapest-holocaust-march-amid-rising-racism