Polish opposition left-wing parties staged a rally in Bialystok on Sunday to condemn last week’s homophobic attacks on the eastern city’s first gay pride march.
Left-wing leaders at the rally accused the country’s right-wing ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party of doing little to fight, and even of fostering, homophobic attitudes in Poland.
Sunday’s rally in Bialystok was attended by hundreds of people, many of them waving rainbow flags or the flag of the European Union. On Saturday, similar demonstrations were held in the capital, Warsaw, and other cities around Poland.
Solidarity with the #LGBTQ+ community in Bialystok (Poland) who held their first ever Pride this weekend but were met with tier gas, glass, bricks, firecrackers and horrific violence. Despite all of this they still made it to the end of the parade. We see you 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/F01efyxNua
— Tom Knight (@TJ_Knight) July 21, 2019
Although the government condemned the attacks at the Bialystok march on July 20, some local ruling party activists were seen among the attackers.
A ‘foreign import’
The government has rejected calls for recognising equal rights for same-sex couples as a threat to traditional family values.
The leader of the PiS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has even described the LGBT community as a foreign import, while several conservative town councils have designated themselves “LGBT-free.”
Many church leaders in the heavily Catholic country have also spoken out against LGBT rights.
Society in Poland, where more than 80% of the population identifies as Catholic, has long been dominated by a conservative attitude to LGBT issues. But a recent opinion poll showed indications of an increasing acceptance of the LGBT community, with, for example, 41% now backing same-sex marriages as against 20% nine years ago.