Five people attacked and destroyed an LGBTI pride display at a street fair in a small city in Poland.
Organizers from local LGBT group Lambda Szczecin organized the fair alongside fellow rights groups, Equality on Waves. Szczecin is a small city in north-west Poland will host a Pride parade on 15 September.
The fair was supposed to be an inclusive, family friendly event.
‘There will be healthy cakes, salads, books, games, photo exhibition and other attractions,’ Lambda Szczecin wrote on Facebook ahead of the fair.
They decorated their stand with Pride flags and umbrellas for Sunday’s event (2 September).
At about 2pm after hours of a peaceful fair, five people descended on the fair and started tearing down the rainbow decorations. Within two minutes they had destroyed the entire display and frightened off many of the attendees.
Some witnesses described the men as ‘football (soccer) hooligans’. But some online commentors suspected they may have been members of the extreme-right wing National Radical Camp, (ONR). ONR has a track record of anti-LGBTI rhetoric.
Making LGBTI events safer in Poland
Police are on the lookout for the alleged perpetrators who will likely face minor charges.
‘If offenders are caught, they will most likely face charges for hooliganism,’ said Dr Piotr Godzisz, hate crime officer from Lambda Warsaw.
‘Most likely, there will not be a penalty top-up for the homophobic motivation.’
Ahead of Szczecin’s pride festival, Lambda Warsaw is providing training events for victim support service providers. They are currently fundraising to pay for the training.
The pride festival organizers hope the event will help to improve LGBT acceptance in the town.
‘We believe that everyone is different, but everyone is equal. We believe in love above all else. If you share this faith, help us change the world for the better,’ the group wrote on Facebook.