Poland: Kaczynski condemns gay pride marches as election nears

Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, May 19, 2019 – Image: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

(Reuters) – Poland must resist the “travelling theatre” of gay pride marches, the leader of its conservative ruling party said on Sunday, as the staunchly Roman Catholic country gears up for a parliamentary election on October 13.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has used LGBT rights as a key campaign issue, depicting them as a dangerous Western idea that undermines traditional Catholic values.

“The hard offensive, this travelling theatre that is showing up in different cities to provoke and then cry… we are the ones who are harmed by this, it must be unmasked and discarded,” PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said at a party campaign picnic in the town of Stalowa Wola.

The law must be fully enforced to “regulate these matters”, he added, without elaborating. […]

Political analysts say PiS’ criticism of LGBT rights could be a strategy to rally its conservative rural base for the election. It is leading in opinion polls, and is expected to win a fresh four-year mandate.

Critics say PiS has fomented violence towards the gay community in recent weeks, as it has continued to criticise what it calls “LGBT ideology”.

A Gay Pride march in the northeastern city of Bialystok was marred by violence in July, as counter-protesters chased down, attacked, and yelled at participants.

Police provided heavy protection to a similar march this month in the central city of Plock.

-Alicja Ptak

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