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Thousands attend funeral of Hungarian Roma victims

Tatarszentgyorgy — About 5,000 people Tuesday attended the funeral of a Roma father and his young son who were shot dead after their house was torched in a hate attack that has shocked Hungary.

The funeral in the central town of Tatarszentgyorgy was attended by representatives of the five parties in parliament and hordes from all over the country who travelled to express solidarity with the community.

The wife of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who is currently in London, showed up for the ceremony which commenced with music by the famed Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra.

In the latest deadly violence to afflict the 650,000-strong Roma minority, accounting for about 10 percent of Hungary’s population, a father and his five-year-old son were shot dead and their house burnt in a village last Monday.

Although no one has been charged over the attack, the same village had previously been the target of an anti-Roma march by the armed offshoot of the far-right Jobbik party.

There were 16 recorded violent attacks against the Roma community in Hungary last year.

The prime minister on Monday said the government would amend the constitution as "under the guise of freedom of expression, hate attacks against certain groups has practically become current practice."

In August last year, the Council of Europe strongly denounced hate attacks against the Roma in Hungary, comparing them to "tactics employed by the Nazis and Fascists in the 1930s and 1940s before they began mass exterminations."