On Sunday, an LGBT equality march handed via the streets of Milicz. Whereas such parades are more and more widespread and properly attended in Poland, by no means has one been held in such a small city, with Milicz having a inhabitants of simply over 11,000.
“Historical past is occurring right here, so bear in mind today,” stated Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, an MP from The Left (Lewica), talking available in the market sq. of the city, which lies 55 kilometres north of Wrocław in Decrease Silesia province.
“Change won’t occur within the squares of the most important cities,” she continued. “We have already got Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław, the place there have been equality marches for years. However right here, in Milicz, is an actual change for equality, love and acceptance.”
— Robert Maślak (@RobertMaslak) May 22, 2022
The organisers – an area NGO referred to as Myślmy – had anticipated round 100 folks to attend, however there have been two or 3 times that quantity, reviews liberal each day Gazeta Wyborcza. Some, like Dziemianowicz-Bąk, have been politicians and activists who had come from elsewhere.
There was a heavy police presence on the occasion in Milicz on the request of the organisers, who have been involved that soccer fan teams might come to oppose it. These fears proved unfounded, nonetheless, with no protests happening.
Maszerujemy dla równości w Miliczu💪 Bo miłość jest wszędzie i równość jest wszędzie❤️🌈 pic.twitter.com/S78DDGqnoX
— Bartek Ciążyński (@BartekCiazynski) May 22, 2022
When the newspaper spoke to some aged locals who have been watching the march, they stated they’d no drawback with LGBT folks and “preferred the actual fact the march was vibrant”.
One man, nonetheless, expressed hostility, saying “these aren’t folks”. These remarks echo feedback by President Andrzej Duda, who throughout his re-election marketing campaign in 2020 declared that “they attempt to inform us that [LGBT] are folks, however it’s an ideology”.
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Poland’s first LGBT equality march was held in Warsaw in 2001, although in 2004 and 2005 the town’s then mayor, Lech Kaczyński of the national-conservative Regulation and Justice (PiS) occasion, issued a ban on the occasion. His resolution was later discovered to have violated each the Polish structure and the European Conference on Human Rights.
Against this, the town’s present mayor – Rafał Trzaskowski of the centrist Civic Platform (PO) – has lent the occasion his honorary patronage and himself attends the march. In 2019, the final parade earlier than the pandemic, round 50,000 folks participated within the occasion.
Different massive cities – comparable to Kraków, Poznań, Katowice and Wrocław – additionally started holding parades within the first decade of this century, although they typically initially confronted violent opposition from nationalist teams.
During the last 5 years, many smaller cities and cities have begun to host equality marches, although they’ve typically confronted opposition from native politicians. Lublin’s mayor, Krzysztof Żuk of the centrist Civic Platform (PO), tried to have the parade banned on public security grounds, however was overruled by courts.
Police have clashed with nationalist protesters throughout Lublin’s first ever #LGBT march #MarszRowności. Water canon and stun grenades have been used, reviews @wirtualnapolska. The mayor tried to ban the march due to potential violence from counter-protesters pic.twitter.com/M7FMCvHDAc
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) October 13, 2018
Lublin’s first LGBT march in 2018 noticed violent clashes between police and nationalist protesters, as did Białystok’s the next 12 months. On the latter occasion, protesters threw paving stones at marchers and the police, and in Lublin a pair have been convicted for bringing a selfmade explosive to protests towards the parade.
Earlier than yesterday’s march in Milicz, the smallest city in Poland to have hosted an LGBT parade was Słubice, with a inhabitants of virtually 17,000. In 2020, it held the primary ever joint Polish and German LGBT march, which began in Słubice then crossed the border to Frankfurt (Oder) in Germany.
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Yesterday, Gryfino – a city of 20,000, additionally on the border with Germany – additionally hosted its first LGBT march, with native media reporting dozens of individuals. On 4 June, Sanok – a city of 37,000 within the conservative southeast of Poland – is because of see its first parade.
The unfold of LGBT occasions throughout Poland comes as polls present rising acceptance for sure LGBT rights. Identical-sex civil partnerships at the moment are supported by a majority of the general public, in keeping with pollster Ipsos, although state analysis company CBOS finds a decrease stage of help of round 36%.
Latest years have additionally seen a concerted anti-LGBT marketing campaign led by the ruling national-conservative Regulation and Justice (PiS) occasion in addition to elements of the Catholic church. Round 100 native authorities have handed anti-LGBT resolutions, lots of which declare themselves “free from LGBT ideology”.
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Predominant picture credit score: Tomasz Pietrzyk/Agencja Wyborcza.pl
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a variety of publications, together with Overseas Coverage, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.