The signatories "express our deep concern about the unprecedented attack on the LGBT + community in Poland" and "call on the Polish authorities to release Małgorzata Szutowicz immediately and to guarantee the rights of LGBT + people". The letter asks the European Commission "to take immediate steps to defend core European values – equality, non-discrimination, respect for minorities – which are being blatantly violated in Poland" and calls upon the Polish government "to hold accountable those who are responsible for unlawful and violent arrests of August 7, 2020" and "to stop targeting sexual minorities". The ruling Law and Justice party ran an anti-LGBT campaign during the 2020 Polish presidential election. The protest, called Black Monday, opposes the tightening of anti-abortion laws by the Polish government.  According to lawyer Emilia Barabasz, who is working pro bono for some of those arrested, most of the detainees were charged under Article 254 [pl] of the Criminal Code "active participation in an illegal gathering" and some were also charged with Article 57a, "hooligan misconduct".  Bodnar said that the authorities' response to a demonstration depended on whether it was "liked by the authorities or not": right-wing demonstrations have not attracted a police response.  Those arrested were initially not given the reason for their arrest, but later told that they might face charges for "taking part in an illegal gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic".  On TOK FM radio station, lawyer Michal Wawrykiewicz stated: "The way the police behaved is incompatible with Polish law. She presented herself for arrest while hundreds of sympathizers protested the arrest. Pro-bono legal help was offered to many of those arrested. The drivers know where the Stop Bzdurom activists live and target their place of residence. A representative of the police did not answer all questions posed by opposition MPs, refusing to say why it was necessary to arrest the demonstrators.  LGBT organizations such as Campaign Against Homophobia and Tolerado have attempted to stop the vans by reporting them to the police; however, these efforts have been mostly unsuccessful due to the lack of recognition of anti-LGBT speech in Poland's hate speech laws. Hundreds of protestors had showed up, including left-wing MP Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, and the protest moved to another location in central Warsaw, around Krakowskie Przedmieście and Wilcza streets, before another group of plainclothes police tried to arrest Margot. Protesters vented anger for a second day across Poland over the new abortion laws. Six people in Kraków were cited for hanging a rainbow flag over a statue of the Wawel Dragon; possible charges suggested by the police included "putting an object in the wrong place" and "disturbing public order". In 2020… The abortion ruling drew immediate condemnation from the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights body.  She is accused of damaging a Fundacja Pro van in late June and assaulting the driver, for which she was arrested, charged, and released after the first judge to hear the case refused the prosecution's request for pre-trial detention. His office had interviewed 33 of those arrested on 7 August 2020, and launched an investigation. But those I interviewed are proud of their country and the people standing up to the government. Its commissioner for human rights, Dunja Mijatović, called it “a sad day for #WomensRights”. Solidarity protests have occurred in several cities in Poland, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Instrukcja", "What's Next for Poland's LGBTQ Activists After Violent Protests", "Heftige Proteste in Warschau – LGBT-Community nimmt Margots Verhaftung nicht hin", "In Poland, the Rainbow Flag Is Wrapped Up in a Broader Culture War", "Polish police arrest three for 'insulting religious feelings' after LGBT+ rights activists give Jesus statue Pride makeover", "Protesters Try to Block Detention of Polish LGBT Activist", "Polish police crack down on LGBTQ protesters", "Mass Arrest of LGBT People Marks Turning Point for Poland", "Jesteśmy zrozpaczeni, wściekli i dumni. ", "Poland: Stop Bzdurom, Queer struggle and the events of yesterday in Warsaw", "Wątpliwości i pytania ws. Angered protesters block rush-hour traffic at a major roundabout on the fifth day of nationwide protests against a recent court ruling that tightened further ... Poland, on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. , Over the weekend, solidarity demonstrations were also held in Kraków (300 people attended), Lublin, Wrocław, Rzeszów, Białowieża, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Łódź, Poznań, Tarnów, and Zielona Góra. , After word got out of the arrests, sympathizers gathered outside the police stations to protest, and multiple parliamentarians, including Magdalena Filiks [pl] and Klaudia Jachira of Civic Coalition, visited the police stations to ensure that detainees' human rights were respected. " Małgorzata Szutowicz, better known as Margot, is another member of Stop Bzdurom and Madej's partner. Nationwide protests … Protests against the ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that imposes a near-total ban on abortion in Glasgow, Scotland. ... Beavers, burpees and bread: 2020's most-searched.  One target is the vans belonging to Fundacja Pro [pl], which are covered in anti-LGBT slogans associating homosexuality and pedophilia, a message which the vans also broadcast on loudspeakers.  Police actions were criticized in a letter signed by dozens of former Solidarity activists, who compared it to the state persecution of anti-Communists in the Polish People's Republic. On 7 August 2020, a protest against the arrest of LGBT activist Margot led to a confrontation with police in central Warsaw and resulted in the arrest of 47 others, some of whom were peacefully protesting and others who were bystanders to the event, dubbed "Polish Stonewall" in an analogy to the 1969 Stonewall riots. Trwa łapanka obrońców aktywistki LGBT", "Protest w Warszawie. , On 2 September, the police crackdown was discussed by the Sejm's internal affairs committee. President Andrzej Duda emphasized the issue, stating, "LGBT is not people, it's an ideology", calling it an "ideology of evil" that is "even more dangerous to mankind than communism". People demonstrate against police violence and an attempted restriction on abortion rights in Warsaw Poland, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.  Stop Bzdurom later relocated the candle he left behind, placing it where a transgender person had killed themselves by jumping off a bridge.  However, Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, of United Poland party, defended the police response and said "defense of banditry by politicians is unheard of".  Dunja Mijatović, human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, called for Margot's immediate release, tweeting "Order to detain her for 2 months sends very chilling signal for #FreedomOfSpeech & #LGBT rights in #Poland". On 7 August, a court granted a request for Margot's pre-trial detention for two months.  Łania Madej, a member of the group, stated, "We do it only for the queer kids who run with us and they have a little bit of fun and feel brave for 10 minutes. A counter-demonstration was attended by The Greens MPs Marek Kossakowski [pl] and Małgorzata Tracz, as well as Civic Coalition's MP Franciszek Sterczewski and The Left MP Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk. Protesters decry government's anti-LGBTQ attitudes", "Policja w domach zatrzymanych po proteście w obronie Margot", "W całym kraju demonstracje solidarności z osobami LGBT i "Margot. Protests against the tightening of abortion restrictions in Poland have intensified further in the past week and are developing into a revolt against the PiS government. They are taking place in over 150 cities and towns in Poland, 90 percent of which have less than 50,000 inhabitants. Protests follow ruling that law allowing abortion of malformed foetuses is incompatible with constitution, Sat 24 Oct 2020 15.31 BST Włoch stał obok, dostał zarzuty i dozór policyjny", "KMPT wizytuje policyjne miejsca detencji po nocnych zatrzymaniach w Warszawie", "Polish Stonewall? Funds", "LGBT campaigners denounce President Duda's comments on "communism, "Poland's Presidential Election Was Close but Voters Remain Far Apart", "Po zatrzymaniu Margot. Czy obserwujemy narodziny polskiego Stonewall? LGBT rights supporters protest in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. Two people sat on the hood of the police car while others blocked the path of the vehicle. Teraz się tłumaczą, dlaczego to robili", "Polish court rules campaign linking LGBT and paedophilia is 'informative and educational, "Polish activists fight against anti-LGBT movement", "Mężczyźni najbardziej boją się gejów i Gender, kobiety zapaści ochrony zdrowia. , The events have been dubbed "Polish Stonewall" by some LGBT activists and media, in an analogy to the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York. Trzy głosy po brutalnej szarży policji (interview)", "Zatrzymanie Margo. “I’m not asking that we forget about the conflict over abortion, but to put it aside for a better time,” he said Friday afternoon.. Many of the banners and placards, bearing slogans such as “disgrace!” and “war on women”, also carried the red lightning image that has become a symbol of the protests. Cher 'amazed' at lonely elephant rescue.  On 20 August, OKO.press published a letter from a number of prominent religious figures, including Michael Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, stating that they disagreed with the pre-trial detention of Margot. , To justify their actions, police later released a video of the mass arrest called "Through the eyes of the police", which did not show any violence on the part of the protesters.  According to ILGA-Europe's 2020 report, Poland is ranked worst among European Union countries for LGBT rights. A heavy police presence kept both groups strictly separated from each other.  The demonstration in Częstochowa on 10 August attracted around 150 participants, including Democratic Left Alliance MP Zdzisław Wolski. Widespread protests have roiled Poland since Thursday, after the government imposed tighter restrictions on abortion. Police confront protesters in front of the Education Ministry building in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday Nov. 23, 2020. Krok po kroku przypominamy, dlaczego doszło do zatrzymania aktywistki LGBT", "Homofobiczne auta i banery – jak reagować?  Between 2019 and 2020, nearly 100 Polish municipalities and regions declared themselves "LGBT-free zones". Undeterred, activists continue to block vans and drape rainbow flags despite others facing criminal charges for these actions. " and "She will never walk alone!" " Former police commandant of Zgierz district, Iwona Lewandowska, stated that the response "ruined the image of the police". 6 Nov 2020 Elsewhere in Poland protesters gathered in main squares, outside PiS premises or near churches.  Rainbow flags have been hung on buildings, including the former SS headquarters in Warsaw, Faculty of Psychology [pl] of the University of Warsaw, and Polish Theatre in Poznań. The court has been reformed by the PiS government, and has since been accused of counting many judges loyal to the party in its ranks.  Trzaskowski stated that the response to the protest was "grossly disproportionate". Declarations of LGBT-free zones in 2019 and 2020 and the 2020 Polish presidential election, which saw President Andrzej Duda use anti-LGBT rhetoric, have led to protest from LGBT rights activists, who adopted direct action tactics. The writers Szczepan Twardoch [pl] and Łukasz Orbitowski also participated in the demonstration. People demonstrate against police violence and an attempted restriction on abortion rights in Warsaw Poland, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.  On 5 August, Margot, Madej, and another activist involved in the flag drapings were arrested for "insulting religious feelings and disrespecting Warsaw monuments", charged, and released after about 40 hours.  The same day, French MEP Pierre Karleskind stated that he had recruited 64 MEPs to refer the matter of the 7 August mass arrest to the European Commission because "The European Union cannot stand idly by in the face of this new provocation. Thousands of mainly young protesters gathered on Friday night near the Warsaw home of Jarosław Kaczyński, considered Poland’s ultimate powerbroker as leader of the PiS. Credit: AP The decision means abortion is now only legal in cases … ", More than 200 academics at universities in Poland and around the world signed a letter published on 12 August, including Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Roberto Esposito, and Jan Tomasz Gross. And finally, access to legal counsel was made difficult for the arrested. Czyli dlaczego słowa Godek i Bosaka są tak bardzo groźne", "Nationalists Are Angry that Poland Isn't Homophobic Enough", "Trzaskowski stanowczo o wydarzeniach w Warszawie.  Warsaw's mayor, Rafał Trzaskowski, stated that he disapproved of the flag draping but criticized the arrests for violating the rule of law. "Rażąco nieproporcjonalna reakcja, "Ziobro zdumiony reakcją opozycji.  A 13 August march in Leipzig was attended by 300 people, and Rainbow Slovakia activists hung a rainbow flag on the statue of John Paul II in Bratislava.  On 17 August, there was a solidarity demonstration in Plac Stulecia [pl], Sosnowiec, attended by about 20 people including Modern MP Monika Rosa and local politician Janusz Kubicki. The protests continue in Poland. , The Polish Ombudsman, Adam Bodnar, stated that he was deeply concerned by the police response. Women’s groups estimate that as many as 200,000 procedures are performed illegally or abroad each year.  Former prime minister Donald Tusk tweeted, "Jesus has always been on the side of the weaker and the harmed, never on the side of the oppressive governments".  Not all LGBT people in Poland agree with Stop Bzdurom's tactics. Poland’s mass protests for abortion rights: ‘This is war’ A proposal to ban most terminations has triggered the largest rallies post-communism Poland has witnessed. Wspólny strach o klimat", "Próbuje się nam wmówić, że to ludzie, a to jest po prostu ideologia", "Polish Towns That Declared Themselves 'L.G.B.T. Mass demonstrations have exposed underlying anger at political and religious interference in people’s everyday lives, Anti-government rallies continue over court’s ruling to restrict access to terminations, Women’s rights protesters incensed by the country’s strict new laws clash with rightwing gangs in the Polish capital, About 100,00o people take to the streets of Warsaw to oppose tightened abortion law, Available for everyone, funded by readers. , Some LGBT activists, including the collective "Stop Bzdurom" ("Stop Bullshit"), have adopted illegal direct action tactics due to frustration with what they see as increasing, state-sponsored attacks against them. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also condemned the ruling. Women's rights activists with posters of the Women's Strike action protest in Warsaw, Poland, Oct. 28, 2020 against recent tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki appealed for people to stop protesting — on a day when Poland noted a record 21,628 COVID-19 cases. Photo: Getty Images. On 16 August, a right-wing demonstration was held in Warsaw opposing "LGBT aggression". The future is uncertain. On the nationalist side, All-Polish Youth leader Ziemowit Przebitkowski, MP Krzysztof Bosak (Confederation) and anti-abortion activist Kaja Godek [pl] gave speeches.  Some of the people outside Wilcza Street police station were also arrested. Margot. , On 8 August, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights released a statement criticizing excessive arrests and police brutality in connection with the previous day's mass arrest, which was signed by dozens of other Polish civil society groups. Last modified on Sat 24 Oct 2020 19.37 BST. Among the detained there were also arbitrary people who in a certain moment were, for example, coming out of a shop with bags. Prior to the demonstration, someone had painted a rainbow on the street, which police said was an unknown substance that posed a threat to vehicle traffic. Poland’s rightwing government has delayed implementation of a controversial court ruling that would outlaw almost all abortion after it prompted the largest protests since the fall of communism.  The next day, thousands of mostly young people gathered in Warsaw to protest the arrests, using slogans such as "You will not lock all of us up! Police detained several people as women-led protests … The impact of Covid-19 on the scale, demography and length of current protests cannot be underestimated. Ukradli kontrmanifestantom tęczową flagę, drugą spalili", "Tęczowa flaga w ogniu. The police then arrested 48 people: Margot, protestors, and others who had not taken part in the demonstration. Police had to protect them from a larger group of counter-demonstrators who threatened and insulted the participants in the soldiarity demonstration; one of them was later criminally charged for making threats. Minister murem za służbami po zatrzymaniu aktywistki", "Oświadczenie w sprawie wydarzeń w Warszawie w nocy z 7 na 8 sierpnia 2020 r. po zatrzymaniu aktywistki LGBT+ – Margot", "Kobiety "Solidarności" w obronie osób LGBT: Użycie siły wobec najsłabszych dyskwalifikuje władzę", "Ksiądz Boniecki i rabin Schudrich podpisali poręczenie dla Margot", "MEPs slam EU Commission over for its silence following LGBT arrests in Poland", "Naukowcy świata do polskich władz: natychmiast uwolnić Margot", "Stars sign letter supporting LGBT rights in Poland", "LGBT+ Community in Poland: a Letter of Solidarity and Protest", "Dozens of celebrities voice support for Polish LGBT+ rights", "Komendant i wiceminister tłumaczą się z brutalności policji", "Policja pacyfikuje pokojową demonstrację po decyzji o areszcie dla aktywistki LGBT (photo essay)", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=August_2020_LGBT_protests_in_Poland&oldid=988213108, Articles with Polish-language sources (pl), Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 11 November 2020, at 20:04. , In late July, Stop Bzdurom placed rainbow flags and anarchist bandanas on statues of Nicolaus Copernicus, Józef Piłsudski, the Mermaid of Warsaw, and Jesus in Warsaw. ... 28 October 2020. According to Balkan Insight, "testimonies from the detained and their lawyers, as well as independent observers, point to a disproportionate response by the police, who arrested peaceful protesters and even random passers-by while acting violently". The demonstrations went ahead in defiance of a government ban on public gatherings imposed as part of measures designed to reduce the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country. "Demonstracje solidarności z Margot i LGBT.  On 15 August, a protest reportedly attended by 100 people was held outside the Polish embassy in London, as well as demonstrations in Manchester and Newcastle the same day, and in Bristol on 18 August. Activists pinned a rainbow flag to the Copernicus monument and criticized Trzaskowski for not attending the demonstration. , During the next week, solidarity demonstrations were held outside the Polish Institute in Berlin and in front of the Polish embassy in Budapest. Protesters block a crossing in downtown Warsaw on the 12th straight day of anti-government protests that were triggered by the tightening of Poland's strict abortion law and are continuing despite an anti-COVID-19 ban on public gatherings. Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, tested positive for the virus on Saturday as health authorities reported a near-record 13,628 cases over the last 24 hours and a record daily death toll of 179. Opponents of the ruling have called for a referendum on the right to abort malformed foetuses, and some have announced they will block traffic nationwide on Monday. Some protesters chanted: “Freedom, equality, women’s rights.”.  Duda narrowly won the election, by the thinnest margin since the end of the Soviet Union.  Some of those arrested reported being beaten by police and suffering injuries, questioned without a lawyer present, or denied medical treatment and water. On 7 August 2020, a protest against the arrest of LGBT activist Margot led to a confrontation with police in central Warsaw and resulted in the arrest of 47 others, some of whom were peacefully protesting and others who were bystanders to the event, dubbed "Polish Stonewall" in an analogy to the 1969 Stonewall riots.  The activists released a manifesto, stating, "As long as the rainbow scandalizes anybody and is treated as inappropriate we solemnly pledge to provoke". , On 7 August 2020, a second judge granted an arrest warrant against Margot which provided for two months pre-trial detention, which was considered excessive and politically motivated by some LGBT rights supporters.  The protests in the United Kingdom were organized by members of the Polish diaspora. All rights reserved. The changes at the court are part of controversial judicial reforms that have put Poland on a collision course with the EU over concerns they undermine judicial independence and the rule of law.  As of 17 August, neither von der Leyen nor Charles Michel, president of the European Council, has made a statement on the incident. The police initially declined to arrest her, but later tried to do so and were physically, but non-violently blocked by activists.  Among those arrested were LGBT activist Bartosz Staszewski, a 52-year-old amateur journalist, Malgorzata Rawinska, who had been reporting on the protest, and an Italian legal resident who happened on the demonstration and was arrested while watching it. , "Policjanci eskortowali furgonetkę z homofobicznymi hasłami. According to a 2019 survey, 24% of Poles believe that the LGBT movement is the greatest threat facing their country. Women wearing black participate in a nationwide pro-abortion protest on 3 October 2016 in Warsaw, Poland.  The action shocked some Polish Catholics, including Law and Justice Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who called the actions "desecration" and posted photographs of himself praying in front of the Jesus statue. v Bratislave vyvesili dúhovú vlajku", "Activists stage beautiful kaleidoscopic protest at Polish consulate with rainbows, pride and solidarity", "Growing UK solidarity movement backs 'Polish Stonewall, "Showing solidarity with Poland's LGBTQ+ community", "Narodowcy protestowali przeciwko 'agresji LGBT'.  Later, police visited the addresses of the arrestees, which a spokesperson for Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights [pl] said was unusual and unwarranted except for serious crime, and could be considered a form of police harassment. Thousands of people marched in cities across Poland on Saturday in the third straight day of protests against a near-total ban on abortion, with some promising further action in the coming days. Some of them had rainbow emblems – bags, pins, flags. Some were strip-searched despite no indication that they possessed drugs or any dangerous item, and transgender arrestees were misgendered. Several MPs were in attendance: Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, Beata Maciejewska [pl], Małgorzata Prokop-Paczkowska [pl], Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, Anna Maria Żukowska, Katarzyna Ueberhan [pl], Magdalena Biejat [pl], Krzysztof Śmiszek, and Maciej Gdula (all from The Left) and Barbara Nowacka, Urszula Zielińska [pl], and Monika Rosa [pl] from Civic Coalition. Elsewhere in Poland protesters gathered in main squares, outside PiS … (Image: AP) "Jeszcze tęczowa Polska nie zginęła! Our new issue, “ Failure is an Option, ” is out now in Warsaw opposing `` LGBT ''. Arrestees were misgendered drape rainbow flags despite others facing criminal charges for these actions a court granted a for. 5 ] Duda narrowly won the election, by the Polish government are proud of their country Getty Images Our... 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