Queer activists staged a beautiful rainbow protest at the Polish consulate in Edinburgh to express their solidarity with LGBT+ Poles.
Edinburgh is twinned with the Polish city of Krakow, which recently joined Poland’s growing list of “LGBT-free zones”.
The two cities were joined in a civic partnership agreement in 1994, and cooperate in areas including culture, heritage, monument protection and education.
Around 100 municipalities in Poland have so far declared themselves to be “LGBT-free zones” after signing a pledge opposing any tolerance or acceptance of the LGBT+ community.
Poland’s recently re-elected homophobic president Andrzej Duda has continuously attacked the country’s LGBT+ community, vowing to ban same-sex marriage, gay adoption and LGBT-inclusive education in schools, and queer people across the country are living in fear.
Last week, Polish police detained 48 protestors as they tried to block the arrest of LGBT+ rights activist Margot, who was accused of draping LGBT+ Pride flags over statues in Warsaw as well as damaging a Pro-Right to Life Foundation campaigner’s car.
On Monday, 10 August and Thursday, 13 August, queer activists and members of the Scottish Polish community gathered outside the Polish consulate in Edinburgh to protest against government-approved attacks on the LGBT+ community.
Organisers of the protest wrote on Facebook: “STOP REPRESSIONS against LGBT+ community in Poland!
“Solidarity with Margot and other arrested activists.
“The Polish government attacks members of the LGBT+ community, openly promotes homophobia and transphobia, encourages violence against LGBT+ people and itself uses unlawful and brutal violence, ordering police to target activists.”
The kaleidoscopic protest saw participants wearing rainbow masks, carrying Pride flags, and holding signs which read: “Let my people love.”
Last week, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, wrote to Krakow’s mayor Jacek Majchrowski asking him to clarify the Polish city’s opposition to homophobia and LGBT+ oppression.
Majchrowski has publicly denounced homophobia and in July this year shared an open letter in support of the LGBT+ citizens of Krakow.
But Lord Ross urged Majchrowski to explicitly confirm that he still supports the shared principles on which the cities’ twinning relationship was founded.
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