Ethnic Hungarians in Romania celebrate national day

Thousands of ethnic Hungarians in Romania dressed up, saddled up horses and then paraded in the northwest Transylvania region on Wednesday to celebrate Hungary's national holiday.

In Targu Secuiesc, a city in central Romania, Hungarians wearing traditional costumes rode horses and carried large Hungarian flags. Crowds turned out to admire the parade.

Elsewhere in the region, Hungarians dressed in vintage Hussar uniforms and raised the blue and yellow flag of the Szeklers, an ethnic Hungarian group living in eastern Transylvania.

There are around 1.4 million ethnic Hungarians living in Romania, mainly in Transylvania which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for centuries until 1918.

Some are seeking greater territorial autonomy and privileges for the community, a desire that has become more vocal since Viktor Orban became Hungary's prime minister in 2010.

More than 90 percent of the residents Targu Secuiesc, a city of 18,500, are ethnic Hungarians. The 15th-century city became part of Romania after World War I and briefly returned to Hungary in 1940 before reverting to Romanian control after World War II.

After communism ended in 1989, ethnic Hungarians have traditionally held parades in Transylvania on March 15 to celebrate the Hungarian national holiday, which marks the anniversary of the 1848 revolution against the Habsburg empire.