Gay pride parade marches in Warsaw

The largest gay pride parade in Central and Eastern Europe brought tens of thousands to the streets of Warsaw on Saturday.

2019 Equality Parade in Warsaw

2019 Equality Parade in WarsawPAP/Jakub Kamiński

The participants of the Equality Parade, mostly young and dressed in colorful clothes, made their way through the city’s downtown, dancing, singing and carrying rainbow flags and banners with LGBT slogans. According to Warsaw’s City Hall, around 50,000 people took part in the event while the organisers’ estimates oscillated around 80,000.

For the first time in its history, the event was held under the patronage of Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, who also joined the participants . „Not everyone has to march in an equality parade, but everyone should respect the rights of minority groups. This has nothing to do with whether one is leftist or liberal or conservative,” Trzaskowski said at the opening.

Diplomats from Canada, the United States and other Western nations continued a tradition of joining the parade to show their support.

LGBT rights continue to be a major topic in Poland’s election campaign. Earlier this year when Trzaskowski issued a rights declaration including the city’s commitment to introduce a sexual education programme and find shelter for gay youths rejected by their parents, he was immediately criticised by the ruling Law and Justice party depicting it as a threat to families and society.

Warsaw’s Equality Parade is to be countered on Sunday with a “March for Life and the Family” in 130 Polish towns, starting off with a mass for children, and calling for protecting kids from sexualisation.

Gay activists have claimed that rights movement in Poland is under siege by hate speech and a campaign by the ruling conservatives. This year Poland is to see a record number of twenty gay pride parades. In some cities, even centrist and left-wing mayors have tried to ban them, usually citing security concerns. (mo)

Source: PAP, IAR

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