Polish police arrest three for ‘insulting religious feelings’ after LGBT+ rights activists give Jesus statue Pride makeover

Statue of Jesus carrying Pride flag and wearing anarchist bandana

Polish police have arrested three people in connection with an LGBT+ rights protest that saw a statue of Jesus decorated with a Pride flag.

Warsaw Police announced Wednesday (August 5) that three people had been detained following a striking demonstration during which activists gave three Warsaw statues Pride flags and pink anarchist bandanas.

Two women and one man have been accused of “insulting religious feelings and disrespecting Warsaw monuments” – which under hate speech laws could carry a two-year prison sentence. As of Wednesday afternoon, all three have been released.

As well as the bronze of Jesus, the radical queer feminist group Stop Bzdurom (Stop Bulls**t) targeted statues of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and the Mermaid of Warsaw, the city’s mascot, to the chagrin of law enforcement and national government.

Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki complained the statues had been “desecrated”, prompting his predecessor and former EU president Donald Tusk to intervene.

“As the head of European Christian Democrats, I would like to remind you that Jesus has always been on the side of the weaker and the harmed, never on the side of the oppressive governments,” Tusk tweeted.

After the protest, Stop Bzdurom shared a manifesto decrying the homophobia rampant in Poland, promising to stand up to hate for as long as queer people are “afraid to hold hands” and until “the last homophobic van disappears from our streets”.

“As long as the [Pride] flag makes someone worse and ‘inappropriate’, we solemnly promise to provoke,” it continued.

Polish hate speech laws protect statues but not queer people.

In Poland, religious statues and sentiments have more legal protections than LGBT+ people.

The nation’s hate speech laws fail to mention the LGBT+ community, but do make blasphemy and “offending religious feelings” crimes punishable by two years in prison.

Large swathes of the country have declared themselves “LGBT-free zones”, prompting former twin cities across Europe to disassociate, and the EU to block future funding for the scheme.

In the capital, Poland’s president Andrzej Duda was recently re-elected off the back of an abhorrently homophobic set of pledges.

He has vowed to ban same-sex marriage, gay adoption and LGBT-inclusive education in schools.