Dozens of gay
rights activists could face fines or prison sentences of up
to a month for rallying in Poznan, Poland, this weekend
in defiance of a city ban on their Equality March,
authorities said Sunday.
In the latest standoff between an increasingly
active gay rights movement and authorities in this
staunchly Roman Catholic nation, a few hundred
activists staged a demonstration in the western city of
Poznan on Saturday, although police had blocked their
planned parade route.
Sixty-eight activists could face fines of up to
$1,500 or up to one month in prison, said Miroslaw
Adamski, spokesman for the district prosecutor's
office in Poznan.
A spokesman for city police, Andrzej Borwiak,
also told the PAP news agency that about a dozen
aggressive counterdemonstrators were arrested. Some of
them threw eggs and chanted slogans such as "We are going to
do with you what Hitler did with the Jews," PAP reported.
The Equality March was organized as part of a daylong
festival in Poznan devoted to promoting tolerance. On
Tuesday local authorities banned Saturday's march on
the grounds that it posed a "danger to life, health,
Poland--a conservative country that joined
the European Union last year--has been grappling
with the issue of how far to go in accepting
homosexuality. Gay rights rallies in Poland have drawn
protesters in past years, often resulting in violent