MUNICH – Rainbow flags outnumbered German flags when soccer fans arrived for a Euro Cup match in Munich on Wednesday.
A crowd of volunteers from groups such as Amnesty International, CSD Germany and S’AG Munich gathered at the exit of the Fröttmaning metro station and distributed rainbow flags to people who attended the last group match of Germany’s Euro 2020 against Hungary. .
Other protesters simply showed up to protest UEFA’s decision to reject the Munich city council’s request to illuminate the stadium in rainbow colors in protest against what it called Hungary’s “homophobic and transphobic legislation.”
UEFA said it had to reject the request due to its political context as a criticism of Hungary. The city referred to a law passed by Hungarian lawmakers last week that made it difficult for young people under the age of 18 to access LGBT information by making their sharing illegal.
“We are here to protest Hungary’s oppressive laws against members of the LGBTQ community,” protester Julian Krusenberg told The Associated Press.
Hungarian fans seemed taken aback by the reception and few, if any, stopped to accept flags.
Drag queen Zoey Rachel Pride said she was outside the stadium to demonstrate for human rights.
“Human rights are for all people, regardless of whether you are gay, bisexual, transsexual or anything else,” Pride told the AP. “There are gays, lesbians, bi, trans, inter, queer and so on. And that is why we always have to defend our rights. That is why I am here today to defend our rights, for the people in Hungary who cannot lead lives as well as we can. “
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter described UEFA’s decision not to allow the rainbow-lit stadium as “disgraceful” and said the city “will not be discouraged from sending a clear signal to Hungary and the world.”
Rainbow flags flew from Munich’s spectacular neo-Gothic city hall, and there were plans to have a wind turbine near the stadium and the city’s Olympic Tower also lit up in rainbow colors.
Many Hungarians were not impressed.
“Politics has nothing to do with sport,” said Hungarian fan Csaba Töräk. “Don’t mix the two.”
A young supporter from Hungary, who attended the game with his father, said he could see both sides of the argument.
“As a (side) that says that politics and football should not be united on the field. And I think that’s a good point, ”said Mate Melykuti. “But it is a good point that it is a human right to be what you are. And I can understand that side too. “