PiS ministers condemn Polish LGBT attack
Polish government ministers have condemned violence against an LGBT rights march while other members of the populist Law and Justice (PiS) administration were alleged to have participated in anti-gay activity.
Protesters, including some in football shirts, tried to block the LGBT march, and some threw bottles and rocks at the participants and the police officers escorting the 1,000-strong event.
The police used tear gas against more than 4,000 far-right counter-protesters, who shouted slogans like “God, honour and motherland” and “Bialystok free of perverts”.
CNN reported seeing several people removing makeup and hiding rainbow flags in an attempt to safely leave the area.
Last year during an equality march in Lublin, another eastern Polish city, LGBT activists were attacked by a group of men, who were dispersed by riot police using tear gas.
Interior Minister Elzbieta Witek said those who used violence against fellow citizens with different views or sexual orientation were “ordinary degenerates”.
“There is no consent in Poland to actions violating the rights of other people. Such actions should be condemned,” Witek told the media.
Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydlo also criticised the violence.
But Bialystok’s mayor, Tadeusz Truskolaski, said online videos showed “unequivocally” showed PiS activists, including the provincial governor, trying to obstruct the march.
At a political rally for May’s European Parliament election, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski urged Poles to vote for “the only party that gives a 100-per-cent guarantee that our values will be protected”.
LGBT rights constituted foreign values that posed “a real threat to our identity, to our nation”, Kaczynski, the power behind the PiS throne, said. PiS’ highly successful 2015 campaign deployed anti-immigrant rhetoric which appears to have been replaced with homophobia as the numbers of migrants arriving in the Central European country is tiny.
European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, tweeted that the authorities who supported the violence of intolerant people were a “tragedy”.
PiS MP Marcin Horala told broadcaster TVN24 that he condemned the violence against the protest but only “because nothing helps promote LGBT in Poland as much as giving them the role of victim, as was the case in Bialystok”.
An LGBT event in Warsaw. Picture credit: Wikimedia