Budapest (MTI) – The Romanian authorities are doing everything to undermine efforts by the Szekler community to strive for autonomy and celebrate their national day in a worthy manner, Gergely Gulyás, deputy head of the ruling Fidesz party’s parliamentary group, told a press conference on Friday, adding that Hungary would not tolerate any trampling of national minority rights.
Gulyás said Romania has form in illegally harassing the Hungarian community, and he accused its authorities of using measures against the Szekler community redolent of a “soft dictatorship”. He noted, for instance, a ban against flying the Szekler flag and petty restrictions imposed on the holding of public events and demonstrations.
He cited as an example the mayor’s office of Targu Mures (Marosvasárhely) restricting a march organised by the Szekler National Council to celebrate the day of Szekler freedom. He also said that a “procedure based on trumped-up charges” against the director of the Roman Catholic theology secondary school of Targu Mures only serves to thwart the school’s operation. Even the parents who raised their voices in support of the school got harassed by the authorities, he added.
It is Hungary’s constitutional obligation to support the community’s autonomy efforts, Gulyás said.
On Friday evening around 1,000 people gathered at a demonstration held in Heroes’ Square in Budapest.
“Autonomy is not negotiable, autonomy is something due,” the chairman of Hungarian parliament’s national cohesion committee told the crowd.
Politicians in Romania must realise that autonomy endeavours do not imply separatism, Károly Pánczél said.
Árpád György-Mózes, president of the Society for Szekler Land, demanded that Romania should recognise its native ethnic communities as constituents of the state, and guarantee their right to use their mother tongue. He also demanded that the Romanian government should start a dialogue with representatives of the Szekler community, he said.