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Warsaw mayor vows ban on gay parade for second consecutive year

Warsaw mayor vows ban on gay parade for second consecutive year

Warsaw's conservative mayor vowed Wednesday to ban an annual gay rights parade for a second year, saying that he is "against propagating gay orientation" in the Polish capital. Mayor Lech Kaczynski, who is widely seen as a leading contender for Poland's presidency in October elections, said he would block plans by gay rights activists for a march on June 11. He said it would interfere with plans to unveil a monument that day to Gen. Stefan Rowecki, a leader of Poland's anti-Nazi underground army during World War II. "Organizing a gay parade on that day is a joke," Kaczynski was quoted as saying by the news agency PAP. "I am for tolerance but am against propagating gay orientation." Tomasz Baczkowski, a leader of Equality Foundation, the group organizing the parade, said organizers would try to appeal a ban to regional authorities. Last June, Kaczynski banned the fourth annual Equality Parade, saying he feared clashes between gay rights groups and opponents who planned a counterdemonstration. Despite the ban, about 500 supporters of gay and lesbian rights rallied in front of city hall, chanting, "Homophobe!" A leading member of the center-right Law and Justice Party, Kaczynski is widely expected to run in the October 9 election to replace center-left president Aleksander Kwasniewski, who cannot seek a third term. Kaczynski has won popularity as mayor for taking a tough stance on crime and promoting efforts to commemorate Warsaw's history--including a museum devoted to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and a planned museum on the history of Poland's Jews. (AP)

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