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Poland: Gays rights marchers stand up to intolerance

TENS of thousands of people marched and danced through the streets of central Warsaw at the weekend during the city’s 17th annual Equality Parade.

The marchers, estimated at 50,000 by organisers and 13,000 by police, appealed for stronger defiance of discrimination and greater acceptance of same-sex unions and marriages.

The annual event is intended as a demonstration of tolerance not only for gays and lesbians but also people with disabilities and other marginalised groups.

Participants carried balloons and the rainbow flags that are the symbol of LGBT rights.

One banner read: “Homophobia causes heart disease.”

Far-right nationalists tried to block the parade at one point, but were removed by police.

Gays and lesbians continue to face significant discrimination in mainly Catholic Poland.

While cities such as Warsaw have grown more tolerant, most gay and lesbian couples are still too afraid to walk down the streets holding hands.

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