Arrests come after several gay marchers are hit with stones by
counter demonstrators; route changed after confrontation
WARSAW, Poland Police intervened during a gay rights march in Krakow on April 28 after several counter demonstrators threw stones at the protesters, a Polish news agency reported.
Organizers of the “Tolerance March” said several marchers were hit with stones, and that they then tried to avoid further confrontations by changing their course to avoid the city’s main square, the news agency PAP reported.
Police made several arrests and set up a cordon to separate the two groups, PAP said.
Placards held by tolerance marchers included: “Stop homophobia” and “Don’t confuse a gay with a pedophile.”
The counter demonstrators were led by the youth wing of the League of Polish Families. Seven members of the party joined the government’s minority coalition on April 27.
Over the past two years, former Warsaw mayor Lech Kaczynski now the country’s president denied permission for gay marches in the capital.
Demonstrations went ahead anyway and clashes broke out between protesters and opponents.
Poland has seen a sharp increase in overt homophobia since the conservative Law and Justice Party came to power last year including anti-gay statements by Kaczynski, party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz.
President Kaczynski reportedly has called gays “perverts” and Marcinkiewicz said that if a homosexual “tries to infect others with their homosexuality, then the state must intervene in this violation of freedom.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 5, 2006.