Hungary protesters block statue unveiling

A demonstrator fixes a banner reading 'We protest' onto a statue of World War II-era Hungarian politician Gyorgy Donath, after the statue's unveiling on February 24, 2016 in Budapest (AFP Photo/Attila Kisbenedek)

Budapest (AFP) - The unveiling of a statue of a World War II-era Hungarian politician -- seen as anti-Semitic by Hungary's largest Jewish group -- was cancelled Wednesday after a protest.

Several dozen protestors holding placards reading "Racism out" surrounded the covered statue of Gyorgy Donath, a member of Hungary's wartime government which was allied with Nazi Germany and brought in anti-Jewish laws.

"I don't see why this person should ever have a statue in a public place in Hungary," one protestor Gabor Eross told AFP, later climbing onto the statue with a placard.

A senior member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's governing party Fidesz due to deliver a speech at the unveiling announced at the scene, some 100 metres (yards) away from the city's Holocaust museum, that the ceremony had been cancelled.

"The circumstances are not good," Gergely Gulyas, a vice-president of Fidesz, told AFP before leaving.

As a government member between 1939 and 1944, Donath supported laws against Hungary's Jewish and ethnic-German minorities, although he was not part of the Hungarian fascist regime installed by the Nazis in late-1944.

He was executed for treason in 1947 at a show trial orchestrated by the communist regime which seized power at that time.

"One cannot turn a blind eye to Donath's shameful political role...(even if he later) became a victim of communism," Hungary's largest Jewish group Mazsihisz said in a statement Tuesday.

The incident comes two months after a planned statue of another controversial WWII politician, Balint Homan, was cancelled in the city of Szekesfehervar following widespread outrage from Jewish and civil groups, as well as a US envoy on anti-Semitism.

Homan key was a key architect of anti-Semitic laws in the run-up to the Holocaust in 1930s Hungary.