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‘You will not lock all of us up,’ LGBT rights protesters warn in wave of Polish protest

PROTESTS against homophobia took place in Warsaw, Krakow, Lublin, Wroclaw and other Polish cities on the first weekend since right-wing President Andrzej Duda was sworn in for a second term.

“You will not lock all of us up!” demonstrators chanted at the thousands-strong Warsaw rally, part of an intensifying standoff between the country’s LGBT movement and the government.

Mr Duda has called the LGBT movement the vehicle for “an ideology ... even more destructive” than communism and ran on a pledge to “defend children” from it.

Police arrested 48 people on Friday at a protest demanding the release of a trans activist, Malgorzata Szutowicz of Stop Bzdurom (“stop the nonsense”), who is being held in pre-trial detention on suspicion of causing criminal damage by knifing the tyres of a van broadcasting homophobic slogans, including “homosexuals are preparing society to accept paedophilia.”

“The police were aggressively pushing the protesters out of the way, knocking people to the ground and holding them down with their boots,” said the Campaign Against Homophobia, a Warsaw-based group.

Stop Bzdurom has run a campaign placing rainbow flags and anarchist symbols on statues around the Polish capital.

On Saturday the Council of Europe’s human-rights commissioner Dunja Mijatovic called for Ms Szutowicz’s immediate release, tweeting: “Order to detain her for two months sends very chilling signal for #FreedomOfSpeech and #LGBT rights in #Poland.”

But Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said that politicians defending the LGBT protesters were supporting “banditry.”

The Justice Ministry is preparing legislation to make non-governmental organisations declare any foreign sources of income.

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