BUDAPEST, July 15 (Reuters) - Thousands of Hungarians braved scorching heat for the annual Pride march in Budapest on Saturday, protesting against government controls over public displays by the LGBT community.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government promotes a Christian-conservative agenda and in 2021 banned "display and promotion of homosexuality" in books and films accessible by under-18s despite strong criticism from rights groups and the European Union.
"The Pride (movement) should be the pioneer of freedom of expression, acceptance and equality," said Gergely Varga, a marcher and makeup artist in his 30s wearing rainbow-coloured clothes designed by a friend.
"But unfortunately I have to say that being proud of being gay is not as accepted in Hungary as in the West."
Participants waved rainbow flags, danced and cheered as they walked through the Hungarian capital's downtown.
"I think the Budapest Pride is really liberating, we can be very proud of it, but I think we are still discriminated in the grey everyday life," designer Danyi Mark.
Neither organisers nor the government gave a number for the marchers, though witnesses estimated about 10,000.
TV ads for the Pride parade were only allowed to be aired late at night, with most channels not taking the risk at all, Hungarian news site Telex.hu reported.
Also this week, Hungary's second-largest bookseller received a record fine for selling a book that depicts homosexuality without closed wrapping.
On Friday, the embassies of the United States, Germany and 36 other countries urged Hungary to protect LGBT rights and scrap discriminatory laws.
U.S. ambassador David Pressman and many other diplomats participated in Saturday's march.
The government stance towards Hungary's LGBT community was seen as resonating with Orban's conservative voters in the countryside ahead of his fourth-term election win in 2022.
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