Despite violent backlash and protests from far-right demonstrators, the Polish city of Lublin held its first ever pride parade on October 13.
It is estimated that around 1500 people marched for equality in the Polish city on Saturday, while a crowd of over 300 people showed up to protest the parade, reportedly throwing bottles and bricks at attendees and launching lit flares into crowds of people.
Within an hour police became involved and attempted to counter-act the protest, but the far-right demonstrators refused to move. Authorities were then forced to use tear gas in an attempt to move the protest away from the LGBT+ march.
Police actions were praised by attendees, with marchers saying they felt protected by the country’s police force on the day.
Others are noting how the protests are an example of how the fight for LGBT+ equality is far from over.
The #queer people who marched in #Lublin #Poland in defense of basic human rights are just HEROES. The violence against #LGBTQ people and against this parade is just proof that our fight is not over. We are brave! 🏳️🌈#gayrights #pride
— Alexander Araya (@alxaraya) October 13, 2018
Earlier in the week, the parade was banned, which was met with backlash. Mayor Krzysztof Żuk announced that the parade was banned over security concerns, but it is believed that the decision to ban the parade from going ahead was heavily influenced by Przemysław Czarnek, a member of the anti-LGBTI Law & Justice party. He claimed that the parade would promote paedophilia and “sexual behaviour [that is] incompatible with nature.”
Polish shame. This weekend's #LGBT Pride banned in #Lublin, #Poland, 8 years after #Warsaw staged #EuroPride – @KristineGarina of @EuroPride on ban of @MarszLublin https://t.co/jX9n7PHsWY pic.twitter.com/Dyf6LlLTQ3
— AndyHarley (@AndyHarley2) October 11, 2018
This Saturday, LGBTI people in #Lublin, Poland, should be celebrating their first ever #Pride. But homophobic Mayor @prezydentZuk has cancelled it, saying "the march promotes “sexual behaviour incompatible with nature” and “pedophilia”. https://t.co/W5YBJ0HD3O
— Steve Taylor 🇪🇺 (@danophile) October 10, 2018
President of the European Pride Organisers Association Kristine Garina addressed the ban:
“It is deeply depressing that we keep having to have the same conversations about Poland. Opposition to equality marches in Poland has found its way into European case law on the freedom of assembly, and you would think that eight years after Warsaw hosted EuroPride, attitudes would be changing.
“But this is not the case. The Equality March this weekend must be allowed to go ahead. Right-wing and homophobic city officials like Mayor Żuk must realise they cannot stand in the way of LGBTI people’s human rights, even when elections are approaching.”
Poland’s Court of Appeal overruled the ban on Friday 12 October due to freedom of assembly laws, and the event went ahead.
When the parade of LGBT+ activists was met with over 300 anti-LGBT+ protestors, Polish police were forced to employ tear gas, high-pressure water hoses and concussion grenades to protect the parade. Right-wing protestors then responded by pelting officers with stones.
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