Polish police detain 48 LGBT+ protesters trying to block arrest of activist in latest queer rights flash point

A blanket of blue-uniformed police officers swept over the LGBT+ protesters, many crouched on the floor, in Warsaw, Poland, Friday (August 7) as hundreds packed the streets to demonstrate against the arrest of an activist.

Around 48 queer demonstrators were detained during the scuffle, the Warsaw Police Department said according to Reuters, as crowds bellowed “Shame, disgrace!” and surrounded a police vehicle in the centre of the capital.

Protesters tried vehemently to block the arrest of an activist accused of draping LGBT+ Pride flags over statues in Warsaw as well as damaging a Pro-Right to Life Foundation campaigner’s car.

LGBT+ activists sit to block a police vehicle transporting detained gay-right activist Margo in Warsaw. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the anti-homophobia group Stop Bzdurom have flung flags across Warsaw in retalation against the ruling Law and Justice Party’s thumping win last year.

Tensions intensified further in July when the Andrzej Duda – who, much like the governing party, campaigning by stoking public fear and scepticism of LGBT+ people – won a second term.

Police violently arrest 48 LGBT+ activists attempted to block arrest of activist.

According to protesters on-the-ground, at around 4pm, courts upheld the prosecution’s complaint levelled against Stop Bzdurom member Margo and moved for her two-monthslong arrest.

Hauled up in a local activist group’s headquarters, supporters quickly thronged the roads outside in an effort to stonewall her from police. She and protesters later shifted to Krakowskie Przedmieście Street where Margo, speaking through a megaphone, declared the protest as an unofficial Pride parade.

At 7pm, Margo was captured by police. Protesters demanded her release and blockaded the police car with one activist standing on top of it. Some chanted. Others unfurled flags to hurl onto nearby monuments.

Soon after, as some demonstrators began to leave, a police car, they claimed, drove into the crowd. Police swarmed and began arresting activists.

Justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro denounced the demonstration. He said: “Tomorrow this knife that was used to cut the car and tyres (of the pro-life campaigner) will be used to stab people just because we don’t like their opinions.”

The squashed protest captures the deepening divisions cracking Poland after the win of Duda, a close ally of Poland premier Mateusz Morawiecki, who netted a narrow win on a campaign that compared LGBT+ “ideology” to communism.