Sunday, June 11, 2006

‘Do not be afraid’…

…was one of the slogans on show at the Equality Parade, attended by anything from 2,000 to 10,000 (estimates differ, as usual) gays, lesbians and sympathizers in Warsaw, Saturday.

On the warmest day of the year so far, the streets of Warsaw were lit up by a colorful and peaceful bunch of protesters demonstrating against state-sponsored homophobia in Poland.

Unlike similar marches in Poznan and Krakow which ended in bloody violence, this demonstration was peaceful and pleasant. Only a handful of skinheads bothered to turn up to harass the march but their meager number meant that opportunities for a bit of ‘bovver’were limited to the occasional egg throwing.

Numbers – 2,000 or so – were still small compared to similar “Gay Pride’ marches in western Europe. But the organization has improved, with people coming from outside of Poland, particularly Sweden and German to lend support.

But the situation in Poland for sexual minorities remains pretty dire. DW reports:

On Friday, the head of a teacher training school in Poland was sacked for publishing a brochure that the Education Ministry -- led by far-right LPR leader Roman Giertych -- denounced as "encouraging contact with homosexual organizations."

Michael Cashman, a British MEP told the BBC:

"We've all become extremely worried in the European Parliament in particular about the increasing hate-speak from senior politicians here in Poland.
"Poland has joined the club of the European Union. The same rules apply throughout those 25 countries and part of that is respect for minorities and we're not seeing that at the moment."

But what was most refreshing yesterday was the atmosphere on the streets of Warsaw, which was one of fun, not fear and anger.


LeeAndrew said...

but his twin brother is actually gay ... by the way, i estimated the crowd to be at least 10, 000.


Anonymous said...

Good post.

There was enough of a potential threat, to lower the numbers. Still a good demo.

beatroot said...

Welcome Lee!

Numbers: I have always been crap and estimating how many in a crowd, march. Organizers always over-estimate, the cops always under-estimate. I was standing at the end of the march outside National Theatre and sone Polish guy on the telephone was being told that it was 20,000! Clearly ridiculous, of course. But more people were at the end of the march than at the begining.


But let's drop the jaroslaw thing. If he is, then I pity him in his ivory closet...if he isn't, then he isn't. It doesn't change the politics of the thing one way or another.

So what?

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I keep seeing more and more blogs that seem to be urging U.S. gay groups to get involved:

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