It was supposed to be a manifestation of solidarity with the detained activist for the LGBT community. It ended with clashes with the services and the detention of almost 50 people. Participants are accused of attacking policemen, and policemen of aggression and stopping random people. Everything started with an attack on a certain van. Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.
To better understand what has been happening on the streets of Polish cities for several days, it is worth taking a look at the van that started it all. – It has become a symbol of homophobia, which was recently born in our country, and has escalated in the last year and a half – says Justyna Nakielska from the Campaign Against Homophobia.
On June 27, the van of the “Pro-right to life” foundation drove up to the squat where LGBT activists meet. There were scuffles. One of the participants, Margot, heard allegations that the van was damaged and that its driver had been attacked. The court decided to arrest the activist for two months. On the van, next to the slogan “stop pedophilia”, it was read that “the LGBT lobby wants to teach children to masturbate or consent to sex”.
“It gives the impression that homosexuality equals pedophilia”
– The essence of the action against which Margot was against was that the action to stop pedophilia and homosexuality was combined, and thus the viewers, among the viewers of the action, felt that homosexuality was equal to pedophilia – notes Jacek Jasionek from the Association for LGBT People Tolerado.
Deputy Minister of Justice Sebastian Kaleta defends the action. – As long as there is information on such vans, which is an expression of opinion based on specific facts, we have freedom of speech in Poland – he believes. Attorney Karolina Gierdal from the Campaign Against Homophobia emphasizes that “these are simply false statements about LGBT people in order to disgust LGBT people and discourage the public from them”.
Reporters from “Poland and the World” asked the “Pro-right to life” foundation about the action.
They got a reply. “The ‘Stop pedophilia’ campaign, in which, among others, vans operate, generates a wide social interest and fury of depravers (ie supporters of the Standards of Sexual Education in Europe). We intend to intensify it” – wrote the representative of the foundation Mariusz Dzierżawski.
“This type of hate speech should be prosecuted”
Such vans appear not only in Warsaw. The Office of the Ombudsman also received 14 complaints from other cities. – This truck is an example of content that violates the dignity of non-heteronormative and transgender people, which is aimed at their good name. Therefore, our legal system should counteract such content and prevent its spread. Unfortunately, our law remains imperfect in this respect – says Milena Adamczewska-Stachura from the Human Rights Defender’s Office.
The office points out that although there are provisions for this in the Code of Offenses, such as disturbing the peace with noise or using indecent drawings or words in a public place, precise regulations should also be found in the Penal Code. – This type of hate speech should be prosecuted as a crime of inciting (to hate) based on sexual orientation. Unfortunately, there is currently no such crime in the Penal Code – emphasizes Adamczewska-Stachura.
Advocate Karolina Gierda believes that “it would be enough to extend the catalog to include the premise of sexual orientation or gender identity, so that such trucks could no longer drive”. But Sebastian Kaleta announced that “the Ministry of Justice will never submit such a proposal.” – In my opinion, it would violate the constitutional principle of freedom of speech – he explains.
“If we are not protected by law, if we are not protected by the court, who is to protect us?”
In Gdańsk, a van with slogans offensive to LGBT communities appeared at the beginning of 2019. A few months later, the Gdańsk Tolerado Association sued the Pro-Law to Life Foundation in connection with its operation. – The first decision of the court was the decision on security and this security concerned the most drastic content – says attorney Katarzyna Warecka.
However, in July this year, the court dismissed the action of the Tolerado Association, which will appeal against the decision. – She arouses controversy among LGBT people who ask themselves the question: If we are not protected by law, if we are not protected by the court, who is to protect us? – notes Jacek Jasionek.
On Monday, protests were held again in several cities in Poland, expressing support for the LGBT community.
Main photo source: stronazycia.pl