Polish police stop protesters who disrupt gay pride parade
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Police used water cannons and pepper spray and detained dozens of far-right protesters who tried to disrupt an LGBT pride march Saturday in conservative eastern Poland.
The clash took place during the second so-called Equality March in the city of Lublin. The event reflects the gay rights movement in Poland which has grown more vocal and met a backlash from social conservatives in the mostly Roman Catholic country.
The conservative ruling party, Law and Justice, depicts the movement as a threat to Polish traditions and has made opposing gay rights a key theme ahead of Poland’s Oct. 13 general election.
Lublin’s mayor originally banned Saturday’s march, citing security concerns, but a court overruled the decision. Hundreds of people attended, carrying rainbow flags and signs with slogans such “Love is love.”
A sign in the crowd of anti-gay protesters carried a picture of two naked men and the words: “Such people want to educate your children. Stop them.”
Only a handful of LGBT pride parades took place in Poland until activists last year started organizing events in conservative towns. The country had seven in 2017 and 15 in 2018, and has seen a record 25 so far this year.