Dozens of pro-LGBTQ+ protesters were arrested on Friday after trying to stop the detention of an LGBT+ activist who draped rainbow flags over statues in the city of Warsaw.
Polish authorities, who have described LGBT+ rights as an “invasive ideology,” said Saturday they detained 48 people who were defending the LGBT+ activist.
“Due to yesterday’s active gathering, 48 people were detained,” the Warsaw police force said on Twitter.
Crowds surrounded and climbed on a vehicle in the center of the capital to try to stop the activist from being driven away.
Members of the anti-homophobia group “Stop Bzdurom” said they hung rainbow pride flags on statues of Jesus and other figures, Reuters news agency reported.
Earlier in the week, the group tweeted “We’re doing great! Thank you for great support and solidarity,” referring to earlier waves of arrests and detentions as Polish authorities cracked down on the LGBT+ community.
We're doing great! Thank you for great support and solidarity. /// Do you think sleeping at the police station will break us? LOL We had a great vacation. We recommend prison libraries (the worst in the world!)
— Stop Bzdurom (@stopbzdurom) August 6, 2020
During last month’s election campaign, resident Andrzej Duda said the promotion of LGBT rights was an ideology more harmful than communism.
He was re-elected as Poland’s president for a second five-year term, winning 51% of the vote in a tight battle with Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski.
Poland’s socially conservative government has often clashed with the EU over the rule of law and human rights, most recently as several cities and regions declared themselves “LGBT-free zones.” The EU in July refused grants to the Polish towns accused of discrimination, after pressure from activists.
Several opposition members of the Polish parliament wore rainbow colors to Duda’s swearing-in ceremony earlier this week as a mark of solidarity for LGBT+ people facing oppression in the country.
“We wanted to remind President Andrzej Duda that in the constitution there is a guarantee of equality for all,” Left MP Anna Maria Zukowska said.