Rival rallies face off in Warsaw over gay rights

Rival rallies face off in Warsaw over gay rights

A gay rights activist was held for two months in pre-trial detention for allegedly vandalising a truck carrying homophobic slogans, sparking a string of protests
A gay rights activist was held for two months in pre-trial detention for allegedly vandalising a truck carrying homophobic slogans, sparking a string of protests

WARSAW - Hundreds of supporters and opponents of gay rights faced off in Warsaw at angry rival rallies on Sunday, with lines of police keeping the two sides apart.

"Down with Deviation!" chanted participants at the anti-LGBT rally near Warsaw University, as a series of speakers railed against "LGBT aggression".

One speaker, anti-abortion campaigner Kaja Godek, said she would propose a citizens' draft law to ban gay pride marches "to stop homo-propaganda".

On the opposite side of the street, participants in a counter-demonstration waved LGBT and anarchist flags, sang and held up banners reading: "We Are People" and "Orientation Is not a Choice, Homophobia Is a Choice".

Gay rights have become a flashpoint issue in Poland in recent years under the governing Law and Justice (Pis) party, which campaigns against what it calls "LGBT ideology" likening it to a form of communism.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets at several rallies this month over a gay rights activist being held for two months in pre-trial detention for allegedly vandalising a truck carrying homophobic slogans.

Three people have also been charged for desecrating monuments and hurting religious feelings after prominent Warsaw statues including one of Jesus Christ were draped in LGBT flags earlier this month.

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