Poland LGBT protests: Police detain 48 people amid crackdown on activists

WION Web Team Warsaw, Poland Aug 08, 2020, 04.13 PM(IST)

LGBT supporters protest in Warsaw, Poland Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Members of the anti-homophobia group "Stop Bzdurom" have said they hung flag on statues of Jesus and other figures last week as part of a fight for LGBT rights, an issue thrust into the heart of public debate in Poland during last month's presidential election.

Police said they detained 48 people after protesters tried to stop them arresting an LGBT activist accused of hanging rainbow flags over statues in Warsaw and damaging a pro-life campaigner's van.

The activist, who was referred to officially in court as Michal Sz. but who identifies as a woman with the name Margo, is suspected of causing criminal damage to a van carrying homophobic slogans in Warsaw in June.

The activist is also accused of pushing a volunteer from the Pro-Right to Life Foundation which owned the van.

Also read: LGBT activist jailed for two months in Poland, protests ensue

Margo was detained at the offices of Campaign Against Homophobia but dozens of protesters then blocked the police car, prompting a stand-off before officers cleared the way to allow it to pass.

"During the arrest of the activist, the crowd impeded the actions of the police. Interventions are being made against the most aggressive people. There will be zero tolerance for breaking the law," Warsaw police wrote on Twitter.

"Due to yesterday's active gathering, 48 people were detained," they added. Warsaw police force later said they had made arrests.

Members of the anti-homophobia group "Stop Bzdurom" have said they hung flag on statues of Jesus and other figures last week as part of a fight for LGBT rights, an issue thrust into the heart of public debate in Poland during last month's presidential election.

The ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has said LGBT rights are part of what it calls an invasive foreign ideology that undermines Polish values and the traditional family.

Government spokesman Piotr Muller said he would not comment on police actions.

Stop Bzdurom and other groups have called for a protest in Warsaw on Saturday in solidarity with LGBT people.