Gay rights activists abandon Poland pride parade after mayor's ban

Gay rights activists in Poland on Monday abandoned plans to hold a pride parade this week in downtown Warsaw after the Polish capital's mayor banned the march. Mayor Lech Kaczynski banned the fourth annual Parade of Equality, scheduled for Friday, in hopes of preventing clashes between participants and an antigay group that planned a counterdemonstration.

Szymon Niemiec, head of Poland's Gay and Lesbian Association, said his group has decided it cannot fight the ban. "The parade will not take place because of the illegal decision of the Warsaw mayor," Niemiec told the PAP news agency. He did not say why the association backed off an earlier pledge to defy the ban, which it said violated the constitutional right to free expression.

Last month hundreds of gay rights activists were attacked with stones, eggs, and firecrackers by counterdemonstrators during a march in the southern city of Krakow. The clash highlighted the difficulties gay men and lesbians face in finding acceptance in conservative Poland.

Tags: World, World

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