He’s banned Muslim dress and gays kissing in public… now he has made a film warning asylum-seekers — meet the far-right mayor who makes Donald Trump’s policy look liberal.
HUDDLED against the bitter chill, close to the razor-wire border, nine bedraggled Afghans tuck into a meal of tinned beans and bread as they wait for darkness to fall.
Soon, armed with wire cutters, they will again try to breach the imposing 13ft fence to cross from freezing Serbia into Hungary.
It takes courage — and desperation.
Here, on the windswept Great Hungarian Plain, border forces are clamping down on migrants with alarming ferocity.
The remote village of Asotthalom became a way-station for migrants heading north two years ago.
Now its far-right mayor Laszlo Toroczkai, 38, has filmed a personal “message to illegal immigrants”.
The home-made action movie features a chase involving a helicopter, a motorbike and two burly men on horses.
In a final close-up, Toroczkai says menacingly: “Hungary is a bad choice. Asotthalom is the worst.”
Here, a mounted militia of self-styled “migrant hunters” patrol the birch and pine forests — with the support of the ultra-nationalist mayor.
Hungary shut its borders in September 2015 and now officially lets in just ten asylum applicants a day.
Some 7,000 refugees remain on the other side of the wire in Serbia, waiting to continue on north.
Every night last month, an average of 80 migrants were caught trying to cross the fortified border — most by scaling or cutting through the fence.
They were then “escorted” to the border gates and returned to Serbia.
Migrants who do get through the fence must then run the gauntlet of Toroczkai’s civilian militia, who are paid by the town council.
A five-strong squad decked out in camouflage gear and armed with batons, handcuffs and binoculars operates 24-hour patrols.
They claim they call in the regular police when they discover migrants who have breached the vicious wire.
But this week Toroczkai — a vice-chairman of the far-right Jobbik party — posted pictures on Facebook of migrants cowering in a rubbish-strewn farm building.
He said the “illegal, fence-tearing migrants” were waiting for people-smugglers “when they were caught by our local guards”.
Other pictures show what he says are Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Afghan migrants lying face down in a field of stubble after being caught by his men.
There are sinister undertones to the firebrand politician’s nationalist zeal.
Toroczkai recently said he wants to create a white utopia in Asotthalom — and to people it with Brits and other Western Europeans.
He has declared: “I didn’t use the word white. But because we are a white, European, Christian population, we want to stay like this.
We primarily welcome people from Western Europe — people who wouldn’t like to live in a multicultural society.
“We wouldn’t like to attract Muslims to the village.
“Real refugees are people who live in Western Europe who live in a multicultural society where, for instance, Muslim immigrants have become the majority.”
As utopias go, sleepy Asotthalom — located around two hours’ drive from Hungary’s capital Budapest — has little to recommend it.
Its population of 4,500 is falling and a slew of farmhouses stand abandoned.
Just two Muslims live in the town but that hasn’t stopped Toroczkai banning Muslim dress and the call to prayer.
He also wants to prevent the buidling of any mosque.
It is not only Muslims he has a problem with.
Toroczkai, elected in 2013, has since outlawed public displays of affection by gay people.
Its warped vision is lauded by a bizarre group calling itself the Knights Templar International (KTI) with links to British far-right activists including Jim Dowson and ex-BNP chief Nick Griffin.
The group advertises property deals around Toroczkai’s own village, which Dowson and Griffin have both visited.
On Facebook, the group says: “Fed up with the rat race, immigration, lefty extremists, political corruption, failing society, anti-Christian laws?
“Want to have a nice, peaceful life amongst good, Christian, patriotic people? Well, move to the East!”
It tells “brethren” an old farmhouse with 1.3 acres can be bought for £9,000, with a full renovation costing £4,000.
And Dowson, the Scottish founder of Britain First, has said: “The threat from Isis terrorists in Britain will not go away.
“I urge people to come to less densely populated places, like some areas of Hungary, to create a better life.”
In one local pub, farmer and father of three Laszlo Szalma, 32, backs the mayor’s migrant patrols, adding: “The migrants would sometimes break into abandoned farmhouses and burn the furniture. People at remote farms were afraid after dark.”
But father-of-two Zsolt Fodi, 47, the landlord of a bar doing a good trade at 10am said: “I think the mayor said he wants to ban mosques and Muslim dress to make headlines.
“We only have two Muslim men in the village, who are well integrated and married to local women. There aren’t people queuing up at the shops dressed in burkas.
Source : Mayor Bans Muslim Dress and Gays