Pair of Polish ministers condemn violence against LGBT march

U.S. & World

Police use tear gas at a group of young men who were trying to block the first LGBT pride parade in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok, Poland, on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (AP Photo)

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Some Polish government officials condemned violence by some opponents of an eastern city’s first LGBT rights march while other members of Poland’s right-wing ruling party were alleged Monday to have participated in anti-gay actions.

National police said Monday that 28 “hooligans” were detained and charged with disturbing a legal gathering following the aggression at Saturday’s march in the city of Bialystok. Opponents tried to block the march, and some threw bottles and rocks at marchers and the officers escorting them.

Officers eventually fired tear gas.

Interior Minister Elzbieta Witek described those who attacked others for their views or sexual orientations as “ordinary degenerates.”

“There is no consent in Poland to actions violating the rights of other people. Such actions should be condemned” Witek said Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydlo also criticized the interference at the march, which drew over 500 participants.

The governing Law and Justice party has increasingly spoken against Poland’s gay rights movement while campaigning for European Union and national elections this year.

Bialystok Mayor Tadeusz Truskolaski claimed Monday that online video footage “unequivocally” showed Law and Justice party activists, including the provincial governor, participated in trying to obstruct the march.

European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister and critic of Law and Justice, said in a tweet that authorities who support violent, intolerant people were a “tragedy.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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