Polish City Has Peaceful Pride March Surrounded by Police

Associated Press

Sunday August 11, 2019

LGBT activists held a central Polish city's first pride parade without incident Saturday amid a deep divide in the country over gay and lesbian rights.

The parade in Plock, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Warsaw, came three weeks after anti-gay violence marred the first pride march in the eastern city of Bialystok. Far-right radicals attacked march participants with rocks, glass bottles and firecrackers on July 20, causing injuries and riot police to intervene.

In Plock on Saturday, about 2,500 parade participants, many carrying rainbow flags, walked through the city unmolested. They were surrounded by a large number of police officers, a sign authorities were determined to prevent a repetition of last month's violence.

The pride events took place amid a backlash against an LGBT movement that is growing more visible in the predominantly Catholic country.

Poland's right-wing ruling party has focused on LGBT issues ahead of an October general election, depicting gay men and lesbians as threats to Polish society and families.

The powerful Catholic Church has also described gay people as a threat, with a top church official recently denouncing what he called a "rainbow plague."

Members of Hungary's ruling party also have recently expressed opposition to LGBT rights, he issue, voicing anger at Coca-Cola advertisements that featured gay couples.

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