Protesters in Poland try to block the arrest of LGBT activist

Europe

08 August 2020, 00:13

Protesters in Poland scuffled with police as they tried to stop the arrest of a gay rights activist on Friday in the city of Warsaw.

The activist, is known officially in court as Michal SZ, but identifies as a woman called Margo. She is suspected of causing criminal damage to a Pro-Right to Life Foundation van with homophobic slogans in June.

The activist is also accused of pushing a volunteer from group which owned the van.

A court order the campaigner to be held for two months in preventative detention.

Margo was detained at the offices of Campaign Against Homophobia but dozens of protesters then blocked the police car, prompting a stand-off before officers cleared the way to allow it to pass.

Police said they arrested some of the dozen protesters.

“During the arrest of the activist, the crowd impeded the actions of the police. Interventions are being made against the most aggressive people. There will be zero tolerance for breaking the law,” Warsaw police wrote on Twitter.

Aleksandra Skrzyniarz, a spokeswoman for prosecutors, was quoted as saying by the news channel TVN24, that a court had “ordered the detention of this person for a period of two months”.

Margo belongs to a campaign group called Stop The Nonsense, which is also suspected of draping several Warsaw monuments, including a statue of Jesus Christ, with LGBT flags and anarchist symbols last week.

Prosecutors have charged three people in that case for desecrating monuments and hurting religious feelings.

The van from the Pro-Right to Life Foundation is a common sight in the centre of Warsaw, blasting homophobic slogans and plastered with posters linking homosexuality to paedophilia.

During last month’s election campaign, President Duda — an ally of the ruling conservative Law and Justice party — said the promotion of LGBT rights was an ideology more harmful than communism.

He was re-elected as Poland’s president for a second five-year term, winning 51% of the vote in a tight battle with Warsaw mayor Rafa Trzaskowski.

Several cities in Poland have recently declared themselves “LGBT-free” despite backlash from the European Union.

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