The Polish city of Lublin held its first ever Pride parade on 13 October despite counter protestors’ best efforts to halt the proceedings.
According to Gay Star News (via local police), it is estimated that around 1500 people marched for equality on Saturday. In comparison, it has been reported that about 200 individuals showed up to disrupt the celebration by throwing bottles, bricks and stones at attendees.
The anti-LGBT campaigners were also said to have launched lit flares into crowds of people. Meanwhile, others tried to physically block the participants from continuing to walk along Lublin’s streets.
It took less than an hour for police to get involved and they began trying to ban the homophobic demonstrators but sadly, they refused to move. In several attempts to get them away from the marchers, officers were forced to use tear gas and water cannons.
“We have arrested several people but I am sure that number will increase,’ Lublin police spokesperson Renata Laszczka-Rusek told Poland in English.
“During the gathering, we provided security for the participants despite the numerous illegal actions of their opponents.”
Police actions were praised on the day. Participants said they felt like they delivered a satisfactory level of security given how aggressive the protestors were being. Forces’ preventative measures were also commended.
It has been stated that two officers were left injured after they were assaulted by members of the rowdy gang.
Earlier this week, Mayor Krzysztof Żuk announced that the parade was banned due to security concerns. It was believed that homophobic regional governor Przemysław Czarnek – who is a member of the anti-LGBTI Law & Justice party heavily influenced the decision.
Around the same time, he claimed that the march would promote “paedophilia” and “sexual behaviour [that is] incompatible with nature.”
Addressing the ban, President of the European Pride Organisers Association Kristine Garina said: “It is deeply depressing that we keep having to have the same conversations about Poland.
“Opposition to equality marches in Poland has found its way into European case law on the freedom of assembly, and you would think that eight years after Warsaw hosted EuroPride, attitudes would be changing.
“But this is not the case. The Equality March this weekend must be allowed to go ahead. Right-wing homophobic city officials like Mayor Żuk must realise they cannot stand in the way of LGBTI people’s human rights. Not even when elections are approaching.
“We will watch to see what happens this weekend and we demand that this unlawful ban is lifted.”