The Polish city of Bialystok has seen its inaugural Pride march attacked by right-wing radicals, resulting in multiple arrests.
According to reports, approximately 1,000 members of the LGBTI community and allies peacefully gathered while waving rainbow flags in the city centre for the city’s first-ever Pride, calling for LGBTI equality.
Surrounded by police in riot gear aiming to protect the Pride march, over 4,000 anti-gay protesters, including right-wing groups and nationalist football fans, are reported to have turned on the Pride march, despite the police forces best efforts to restrain them.
The Pride participants were pelted with rocks, glass bottles and flash bombs, along with facing verbal abuse from the radicals who described the Pride attendees as perverts and paedophiles while shouting out “God, honour and motherland,” and burning Pride flags.
Video footage which was later posted online showed local police attempting to disperse the far-right demonstrators as a police helicopter hovered ahead.
Elżbieta Witek, who is Polan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration condemned the violence on Twitter, saying, “there was no and there is no permission for hooligan behaviour that harms the rights of others.”
“Any person who commits to breaking the law or hinders the execution of tasks by the police officers must take into account the consequences. The police will always react strongly to manifestations of such behaviour,” she added.
While LGBTI people have minor protection from discrimination in Poland, Same-sex relationships are not legally recognised, same-sex people cannot adopt children, and the country remains conservative on their political views.
Notably, a February 2014 poll highlighted that 70% of Poles believe that same-sex sexual activity “is morally unacceptable.”
It’s reported that a total of twenty-five-people were arrested as a result of the Bialystok Pride attack.