Teen arrested in Poland for writing ‘leave LGBTQ+ people alone’ on pavement in chalk

A screenshot from video showing Polish teenager Malwina Chmara being dragged by police in Poland

A teenager in Poland has been arrested for writing words of support for the LGBTQ+ community on a pavement in chalk. 

Malwina Chmara was arrested on 17 September in front of a church in Toruń’s Old Town.

It follows the activist from Bydgoszcz noticing people gathering on the market square holding banners insulting LGBTQ+ people, news channel TVN24 reported.

She told the channel: “They likened such persons to paedophiles.” 

The 17-year-old proceeded to protest against this hurtful rhetoric and used yellow chalk to write “leave LGBTQ+ people alone” on the pavement outside the church. 

According to the news channel, Chmara admitted she had also written down names of priests accused of paedophilia. 

Police officers were quick to show up and Chmara said: “The police asked me for ID and then went into the church to confer with the priests.

“I waited for half an hour before the police decided to detain me in relation to this case. 

“I wasn’t aggressive, I wasn’t trying to escape the police, and the officers handcuffed me and dragged me to the car. I remained handcuffed for the whole duration of the arrest.”

Footage from the incident shows four officers standing over the teenager who is sitting on the pavement. The officers then dragged her to the police car.

Chmara took to Facebook to broadcast the video and inspire others in Poland not to be afraid to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights.

Part of the post said: “If we ever want anything to happen, we must rebel. And, of course, the police will try to stop this…

“I have not yet heard of a major social change which occurred with the full approval of society, the police and the government.

“I believe that if we mobilise and start acting for systemic change, each with his own resources, we will be able to create a different world. We are unstoppable. Another world is possible.”

The 17-year-old was taken to the police station and charged with violating Article 63 of the Polish Code of Petty Offences. 

Article 63 prohibits “the placement of advertisements, posters, leaflets, inscriptions, or drawings in a public place without the consent of the administrator of said place”. 

She is now facing a fine and the incident has caused outrage among many people. 

Polish LGBTQ+ activist, Bart Staszewski, told PinkNews: “Bandit behaviour of the police is a sign of how much Poland has changed under the ruling of the right-wing government.”

He added: “The police do not defend the citizens but stand against them. As you can see, you don’t need Russian or Hungarian homophobic law to intimidate citizens.” 

Staszewski said despite the consequences more young people are continuing to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. 

“We have visible growth of support amongst youth and adults towards LGBT rights in Poland despite homophobic agenda provided by government against us,” he shared. 

Left-wing MP Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus has reached out to the chief of Toruń Police to ask “a few questions” following Chmara’s arrest.

She asked: “Commissioner, do Toruń police officers protect the citizens, or the church? Should Toruń police officers consult the parish priest, or maybe they should focus on the safety of the citizens? Didn’t the officers from Toruń violate Malwina’s personal dignity by handcuffing her?”

TVN24 reporter Mariusz Sidorkiewicz shared that Toruń Police have so far refused to comment on camera, but a spokesperson for the force “stated in a phone call that the police are examining all circumstances of this intervention”. 

PinkNews has contacted Malwina Chmara, Toruń Police and Joanna Scheuring-Wielgusfor for further comment.