LGBTQ campaigners staged a parade marking twenty years of Pride celebrations in Poland. Tensions are running high as central Europe is seeing a backlash against equality activism.
The country’s celebration of LGBTQ rights had been placed on hold for 2 years due to the coronavirus.
But people took to the streets of Warsaw during a jubilant mood, joining the thousands of demonstrators waving rainbow flags. Their excitement isn’t necessarily universally shared in Poland – a largely Catholic and conservative nation.
The pandemic-induced absence came amid a backlash to LGBTQ rights within the country – also as in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist government, allied with Poland’s governing Law and Justice party, has introduced new laws banning the “display and promotion of homosexuality” among under-18s.
A fear for the longer term for gay rights was a darker backdrop to the day’s colorful events.
But the city’s mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, spoke out at the gathering with unequivocal support for equality.
And in answer thereto , those within the sea of solidarity surging through the town center gave their own show of strength.
backlash in Poland
Poland’s populist ruling party has taken a political direction very almost like that of Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, pushing conservative policies and tightening ruling party control over courts and media.
The European Union has criticized both nations, accusing them of eroding democratic norms.
One prominent Polish activist, Bart Staszewski, carried a Hungarian flag in Saturday’s march, saying it had been a message to the EU to defend LGBT people because he fears that “Poland will be next.”