■ Riot police
close in on peaceful protestors in
The march was organised by a number
of Polish women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights
organisations. Earlier last week, the march was ruled illegal by the Mayor
of Poznań, Ryszard Grobelny, who is
thought to have issued the edict under considerable political pressure from
the Polish government.
Despite the ban the march went
ahead but was blocked by the police. The participants were arrested and
An email today from KPH (Campaign
Against Homophobia) in Warsaw pleaded for help from other member states of
the European Union.
“Polish LGBT organizations ask all our friends in Belgium
and England to organise demonstrations during those days,” wrote Tomasz
Szypula, the secretary general of KPH. “It is very important for us because
[the] Polish government is totally ignoring our calls.
Please show your solidarity. Last Saturday 68 people
taking part in The Equality March in Poznań
were arrested. I was one of them.”
They asked for urgent
representations to be made to both the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair,
(the United Kingdom currently holds the presidency of the European Union) at
to Jose Barroso, the President of the European Commission.
Both are holding separate talks
with the Polish Prime Minster this week.
First to react to the plea from
Poland was the Brussels-based IGLA-Europe. The organisation said it was
“deeply disappointed and concerned” about the level of continuing and
blatant discrimination against gays.
“We are deeply concerned with the
development is Poland for the last few months,” commented Patricia
Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe.
“Such discriminatory acts by the
Polish authorities as banning peaceful demonstrations in Warsaw earlier this
year and in Poznań
last weekend, closing down the Poland’s equality body are sending very
worrying messages that Poland completely disregards its obligations it
agreed to implement by joining various European organisations.
“It is time for the European
organisations and states to send their firm message to the Polish
authorities that such behaviour is not tolerable and contradicts European
agreement and values,” she insisted.
ILGA-Europe is calling on both
European organisations and individual European governments to immediately
denounce such intolerable actions by the Polish authorities.
By joining the European Union (EU),
the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organisation for Security and
Cooperation of Europe (OSCE), Poland agreed on the principles of
non-discrimination, equality and freedom of peaceful assembly.
While there has been little
coverage of Saturday’s arrests in the mainstream media outside Poland, the
most comprehensive has been from perhaps the least likely place – Aljazerra.
“Sixty-eight activists could face
fines of up to 5,000 zlotys (US$1500) or up to one month in prison, said
Miroslaw Adamski, spokesman for the district prosecutor's office in Poznan,”
the Qatar-based news organisation reported.
The Polish News Agency reported
that about a dozen counter-demonstrators threw eggs at the marchers and some
shouted: “We are going to do with you what Hitler did with the Jews”.
While Polish hate crime law does not include sexual
orientation, it does include anti-Semitic remarks. And a spokesperson
for the Poznań
police is reported as saying that they would charge those who made the remark for being
offensive to an ethnic group.
Szypula is unconvinced. “A similar statement was
made last year in Krakow by the police – but the police did nothing,” he
If you wish to make representations to
Jose Barroso, the President of the European Commission, or Prime Minister
Tony Blair, this can be done as follows:
President Barroso: by email to
cec.eu.int (remove spaces either side of "@" on your email)
Prime Minster Tony Blair: use the online form on
Number 10 Downing Street website
Video report from TVP2 (3mb file - not
Poznań Bans Gay Pride Parade.
Audio report (MP3) by Radio Polonia's Michal Kubicki
(Radio Polonia, November 18, 2005)
Riot Police Detain,
Interrogate 65 at Gay Demo in Poznań.
“They were dragging us
around on the street” - Demonstrator. The police in Poznań today briefly detained and
interrogated 65 demonstrators during the March of Equality organized by
organizations of leftist and gay activists in Poznań, western Poland.
(UK Gay News, November 19, 2005)
Today’s Gay March in
Poznań Now Legally Banned. The March of Equality and
Tolerance, dubbed ‘Gay Pride’, due to be staged in Poznan, western Poland, this afternoon (Saturday) has been officially
banned. (UK Gay News, November 19, 2005)
Polish City Bans Gay
March for Security Reasons, by Marcin Sobczyk in Warsaw.
The mayor of Poznań, a metropolitan city in western Poland, banned a gay parade on
Tuesday, Nov. 15. The Poznań march, expected to
gather some 500 demonstrators, was supposed to take place on Nov. 19 as part
of the Days of Equality and Tolerance in Poznań, organized by leftist,
ecological, and feminist groupings. (UK Gay News, November 16, 2005)
UK Gay News has many articles on Poland. These can
be accessed through the search engine on the main
Campaign Against Homophobia Poland website
Radio Polonia website (in English)
Polskie Radio website (in Polish)
Warsaw Independent website