Two LGBT marches organized in Poland under high police surveillance
CZESTOCHOWA, Poland (AP) – LGBT rights parades took place on Saturday under heavy police presence at the foot of Poland’s most revered Catholic monastery in Czestochowa in the south and Gdansk on the Baltic coast.
The massive police presence, which included officers on horseback, was seen as the factor preventing any clashes with far-right groups, who shouted anti-LGBT slogans like “No Homosexual Love” at protesters.
There had been cases of violence by far-right groups against parades for equality in Poland, particularly in Czestochowa, at the foot of Poland’s most revered 15th-century Catholic monastery of Jasna Gora.
Far-right groups have the backing of the Polish right-wing nationalist government, which underlines the nation’s historic attachment to traditional Catholic values.
Czestochowa’s 3rd Equality Parade went smoothly on Saturday, although far-right activists came from other towns to protest.
“It’s an obvious provocation, because LGBT circles have always been anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, you could even say. So their march in this direction, in the heart of the Polish nation, in the heart of Polish Catholicism, is an open provocation ”, Bartlomiej Czuchnowski, 26, head of a regional far-right youth organization in Opole, in the southwest Poland, told The Associated Press.
Czestochowa LGBT activist Monika Radecka has said whenever she sees growing support for human rights marches, but added “that there is always a large group that does not support them.”
“Everything we LGBT people do is interpreted as provocation,” Radecka told the AP.
The march in Gdansk was attended by the mayor of the city, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, and by the ambassadors of some countries of the European Union.