Poland: More than 1,000 march in Warsaw in support of LGBT rights

More than 1,000 people have gathered in Warsaw in support of LGBT rights a week after the first pride march in the city of Białystok was marred by violence.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has made LGBT rights a campaign issue ahead of parliamentary elections expected in October, with many politicians arguing that pride marches promote unnecessary public displays of sexuality.

“The tension is growing and is tied to the politics of the ruling party, which are hateful and intolerant,” said Marta Zawadzka, a 17-year-old student who attended the gathering. She said examples “include blaming LGBT people and painting them as paedophiles and bad people”.

Disapproval over displays of support for LGBT rights spilled over into the streets of Białystok last Saturday, with videos posted online showed men attacking marchers and shouting homophobic insults.

Police have detained more than 30 people in connection with the violence while politicians, including the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, have condemned the attacks.

A Warsaw court this week put a temporary hold on the distribution of “LGBT-free zone” stickers by a Polish conservative magazine.

“I am here because of what happened in Białystok and because of the ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers,” said Amelia Rae, a 15-year-old student. “If something is going to change than the government needs to change.” Read more via Guardian