Anti-LGBTI protesters who crashed into a city in Poland holding their first Pride parade are already planning their next counter-protest.
Police in northeastern Poland detained over two dozen people who abused Pride-goers at Białystok’s first parade last weekend.
But an event page on Facebook—reportedly run by the same right-wing group(s)—are planning to protest the first ever Płock Pride on 10 August.
What do we know so far?
On a public event page hosted by two men—Kuba Karasiński and Oskar Wróbel—more than 3,000 people have said they are interested in attending the counter protest.
The page is titled ‘Blokujemy paradę „Równości” w Płocku’ [We block the parade of “Równia” in Płock’]. Its header image is a crossed-out Pride flag emoji.
The counter-protest will be held on 10 August from 1:30pm to 4:30pm local time. Starting at Stary Rynek w Płocku, a square in the Old Town in Płock.
However, exact plans seem to be unclear. Though, one user asked: ‘Will it be blocking or beating, jerking, and throwing different things at participants?’
‘Depends on your imagination,’ a user replied.
‘I came to say f*** LGBT’
On the event page in the last 24 hours, there are dozens of discussions by members expressing their distaste for LGBTI people. The page has been active since at least 17 July.
In addition, one member concluded that there is ‘no place’ for Pride: ‘When I see a flag flying, I know exactly what I can expect. Unfortunately, years of obscene behavior have long left a trail.’
Moreover, another member captioned a collection of photos of children at Pride with: ‘F*** is this normal for f***?
‘And parents send children to these circuses and fucking take parental rights away!’
One commented, simply: ‘I came to say f*** LGBT.’
Other users comment that the parade is ‘idiotic,’ and call for ‘straight parades,’ while posting anti-trans memes.
Many members have expressed that their plan to block the parade is an act of ‘patriotism.’
‘I am ashamed for the Polish’
Nikola Cieślak has responded to several homophobes on the page. She is not LGBTI herself, buy many of her friends are who she ‘loves very much.’
Based in Bogatynia, the 17-year-old told Gay Star News over Facebook Messenger: ‘I wanted to warn people from Płock against the attack on them.
‘People put posts on there with baseball bats and verbal threats.
‘The parade in Białystok was terrible. So much to overcome, so many threats.
‘I’m ashamed for the Polish. Fortunately, not everyone is like that.’
Above all, she said she is ‘afraid homophobes will hurt someone.’
Indeed, Milena Orłowska, who is organizing the Pride parade, said that ‘fear’ has ‘stood in the way’ of pro-LGBTI parades being held in the city before in an interview with a local paper.
What happened in Białystok?
Around 500 LGBTI people and allies in the city with a population of around 300,000 marched in the parade on Saturday (20 July).
Officers in riot gear were drafted to protect Pride-goers in a country torn by lawmakers and Christian groups in its support of LGBTI people.
As LGBTI people pummelled the sidewalks, waving Pride flags and banners reading ‘Rainbow is the new black,’ they were met with homophobia in the city center.
Packs of masked people, many wearing soccer T-shirt and having shaved-heads, targeted Pride-goers by lobbing anti-LGBTI insults at them.
Anti-Pride groups organized over 40 protests
Moreover, many threw bottles, stones, as well as firecrackers at the marchers.
In Białystok today, the town’s first ever Pride Parade was met with thrown stones and firecrackers. But the Parade made it through. 🏳️🌈
You can’t stop the march of progress. We’re coming for our rights.✊
Huge props to Tęczowy Białystok, the organisers. Photos by K. Kadziewicz. pic.twitter.com/4EtwWJY4qX
— Eva Infeld (@evainfeld) July 20, 2019
As a result, border control descended onto the Pride-crashers.
They fired tear gas and wrestled with more violent counter-protesters to the ground to stop them from attacking activists.
Local police spokesman Tomasz Krupa said one person was detained for allegedly snatching a rainbow flag away from a parade participant.
Videos taken of the march show riot police rushing the crowd to break up skirmishes. Videos also appear to show the groups attacking people on the street.
The right-wing groups reportedly organized over 40 counter-demonstrations against the Pride march.
Why is it happening?
‘We’re experiencing huge wave of radicalisation,’ explained Magdalena Świder of the LGBTI group KPH to Gay Star News.
‘And it’s being fueled by Catholic church representatives and right-wing politicians, especially from the ruling party (PiS),’
‘We expect the government and the Church to face their faults and apologize for their wrongdoings towards LGBTI community in Poland.’