Arrests at LGBT protest in Poland: Rainbow at the Palace of Culture

48 people were arrested in Warsaw on Friday for protests against homophobia. This led to new protests.

Protest on Saturday in front of Warsaw’s Palace of Culture against the arrest of a transgender activist Photo: Czarek Sokolowski / dpa

WARSAW taz | Warsaw’s Palace of Culture shines through the night again in rainbow colors. A sign of hope for many. Because behind it stands the liberal Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who only narrowly lost the presidential election in June against Andrzej Duda from the ruling law and justice party (PiS). After the arrest of 48 people who demonstrated on Friday for the release of Margot Sz., The Rainbow Palace at least somewhat alleviates the bitterness.

On Saturday several thousand people again protested in the Polish capital with rainbow flags and umbrellas – now also for the release of those arrested the day before.

Because it is clear to everyone that the homophobic agitation by the government, president and Catholic Church of Poland after Duda’s narrow election victory is not over. Now members of Poland’s LGBT movement are said to be criminalized and put in prison. The English abbreviation LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

“For Margot it is the worst thing they could do to her: the court put her in male arrest for two months,” says a Warsaw LGBT activist who does not want to be named. “None of us know where she is, what she’s going through and what the allegations are.”

Duda sees religious feelings hurt

Allegedly, it was initially said that Margot Sz., A trans * woman, hung some prominent monuments in Warsaw with rainbow flags with lesbians and gays last week – including the Jesus statue in front of the Holy Cross Church on the Kraków suburb Street in Warsaw.

Protesters for LGBT rights in Warsaw.  They are wearing masks and a woman has stretched a rainbow umbrella over her.

Solidarity: Thousands took to the streets for those arrested Photo: Czarek Sokolowski / dpa

Poland’s President Duda said that this offended many people’s “religious feelings”. But for that two months arrest in a remand prison?

When Duda himself agitated against LGBT people in the election campaign (“They try to convince us that these are people, but this is simply an ideology”), the police were not ready to take him away.

And even when a high-ranking politician demoted a gay person to “subhuman” or when the Archbishop of Kraków Marek Jedraszewski warned of the “rainbow plague” in a sermon, no public prosecutor reacted

Subsequent justification

But when the Judges’ Association of Justice inquired whether the two-month detention for hanging a rainbow flag was not inappropriate, it was suddenly said that Sz. Was accused of property damage.

She is said to have demolished a delivery truck weeks ago that was labeled with homophobic slogans. The police had no complaints about the car, which grossly insulted sexual minorities. Rather, Sz. Is now to be charged with property damage.

What the arrested 48 demonstrators are accused of is not yet known. But this time, the brutal action of the police should also have consequences. This was not only announced by Poland’s ombudsman Adam Bodnar, but also wanted by many parents who drove from police station to police station on Friday night to find their arrested children.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro stood behind the police. The arrested are “bandits”.

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