Polish Police used water cannons and pepper spray and arrested dozens of far-right anti-LGBT protesters who tried to disrupt an Equality Pride march in eastern city of Lublin, Poland.
On Tuesday, the the mayor of Lublin, Krzysztof Zhuk banned the rally due to security concerns. Friday the Polish Court of Appeal upheld the district court’s decision to allow the march to go ahead.
Over 400 participants of the Equality March gathered at 2:00 pm on one of the central streets of Lublin, which they planned to march along, but counter-demonstrators who wanted to block the rally were already waiting for them not far from them.
The far right nationalist ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has used anti “LGBT ideology” a key issue in its campaign ahead of the Oct. 13 parliamentary elections, saying it is an invasive foreign influence that undermines traditional Polish values.
“We’ve had death threats, (this violence) was about forcing us not to have this march,” Bartosz Staszewki, organizer of Saturday’s march, told Reuters.
Television footage showed, riot police backed up a by water cannon separating the brave marchers, who brandished rainbow flags and signs with slogans such “Love is love.” from the protesters who had tried to block their route.
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.”
PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has publicly urged Poles to resist the “traveling theater” of Pride marches which he described as “a real threat to… the Polish state”.