Hundreds of Polish nationalists and defenders of LGBT rights faced off against each other on opposite sides of a street in central Warsaw on Sunday.
The nationalists burnt a rainbow flag, while the LGBT activists painted one on the street. The groups shouted abuse at each other, separated by a line of several police vans and dozens of policemen.
The nationalists’ gathering was organised by a far-right movement All-Poland Youth, whose former leader, Krzysztof Bosak, won nearly 7% in the first round of a presidential election in June.
“This is a toxic ideology, dangerous, revolutionary and radical,” Bosak said in a speech during the gathering.
Gay rights were part of the most recent election campaign in Poland, a staunchly Catholic country, and the issue is still divisive.
President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, won re-election in July. During the campaign he had compared what he called LGBT “ideology” to communist doctrine, sparking criticism at home and abroad. [nL8N2DQ082]
Since then there have been numerous protests by LGBT activists in Warsaw, including a massive one earlier this month when several thousand people demanded the release of an LGBT activist accused of hanging rainbow banners over statues and damaging an anti-abortion campaigner’s van.