On October 13th, 2018, Lublin, a city in eastern Poland, held its first-ever LGBTQ+ Pride parade. The event, organized by Lublin Equality Parade, was intended to promote tolerance and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate diversity.
Despite the parade being a peaceful demonstration, it was met with hostility from anti-LGBTQ+ protesters. An estimated 200 counter-demonstrators showed up to disrupt the celebrations, throwing bottles, bricks, and stones, as well as lighting flames at the attendees.
The police attempted to ban the anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrators from the area, but they refused to move. Tear gas and water cannons were used by the police to keep them away from the march. The actions of the police were praised by the march’s participants for providing them with sufficient security.
Earlier in the week, the Mayor of Lublin, Krzysztof Zuk, announced that the parade was banned due to security concerns. However, Poland’s Court of Appeals overruled the ban on the day before the march, citing freedom of assembly laws.
In spite of the obstacles, an estimated 1,500 people participated in the Lublin Equality Parade. The marchers walked down the main streets of Lublin, waving rainbow flags and carrying signs and banners in support of LGBTQ+ rights.
Unfortunately, Lublin is not the first Polish city to experience threats and obstruction against LGBTQ+ rights events. In September, a Pride display was destroyed at a street fair in the northwestern town of Szczecin. In August, the country’s defense minister referred to a Pride march in the western city of Poznan as a ‘parade of the sodomites‘.
The Lublin Equality Parade is an important reminder that the fight for equality and human rights is far from over, and the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination and marginalization in many parts of the world. Despite the obstacles, the marchers in Lublin stood proud, united, and committed to their cause.