Polish police crack down on LGBTQ protesters – (Reports)

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Polish police crack down on LGBTQ protesters

WARSAW — Polish police arrested three people linked to protests in which rainbow flags were hung on statues in Warsaw, authorities said Wednesday.

Officers are investigating “the matter tied to insulting religious feelings and disrespecting Warsaw monuments,” the police said. Polish law protects religious sentiments and statues.

Last week, activists hung flags on the statutes of national heroes such as Nicholas Copernicus, as well as a mermaid that is the symbol of Warsaw and a statue of Jesus Christ outside a large downtown church.

In a manifesto published online, demonstrators said: “As long as our flag disgusts anyone or is seen as ‘inappropriate’ we promise to provoke.”

The government’s reaction was immediate. In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called it “an act of vandalism” that was aimed at dividing society. “A fundamental condition of every civilized debate about tolerance is defining the boundaries of that tolerance … certain boundaries were crossed.”

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Gay rights have become a burning political issue in Poland, in large part thanks to the nationist Law and Justice (PiS) party government, which has used the issue to build support among the most conservative parts of the electorate. It’s also added to tensions between the EU and Poland, after Brussels rejected grants for Polish towns that had adopted anti-LGBTQ pledges.

In the recent presidential election, the party’s candidate Andrzej Duda unleashed attacks on what he called “LGBT ideology.”

Earlier this week Przemysław Czarnek, a PiS MP, denounced “LGBT ideology” on an ultra-Catholic radio station for having the same roots as Marxism and “Hitler’s National Socialism.”

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“Hanging a rainbow flag [on the statue of Jesus], the flag of neo-Marxism, in other words a completely anti-God movement, dechristianizing Europe, is a desecration and a gesture aimed at God,” he said.

The justice ministry is also financing a project aimed at “Counteracting crimes related to the violation of freedom of conscience committed under the influence of LGBT ideology,” which will try to protect the feelings of religious people “who suffer under the pressure of new leftist ideologies.”

On August 1, the anniversary of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, police intervened when an activist hung a rainbow flag from a balcony and made insulting gestures at nationalist demonstrators gathered below. Officers rushed into the apartment and tore down the banner.

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The police’s decision has been questioned by critics, who point out that no action was taken when an electoral banner for Duda was hung from a large metal cross atop one of Poland’s tallest mountains.

Rafał Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw and the defeated opposition candidate for Polish president, denounced both the police intervention in the apartment and this week’s arrests. “Someone like me may not like the idea of the happening, but arresting people for that is a violation of the rule of law,” he said in a Facebook post.

The post Polish police crack down on LGBTQ protesters appeared first on Politico.

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