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The foreign ministry of Poland will honor a request from organizers of the Warsaw Equality Parade scheduled for June to waive visa fees for attendees from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.
According to the Warsaw Business Journal, parade organizers said that a few hundred people would benefit from the decision not to impose the visa fees, which amount to around $40. The foreign ministry will verify that visitors' aim in coming to Poland is to attend to parade on June 11.
"What we wrote in our letter to the Ministry was that Poland in the 17th and 18th century was famous for its tolerance, and that we are trying to change Poland and let people around Europe know that Poland was and will become again a tolerant country," said Jej Perfekcyjnosc, a spokesperson for the parade's organization committee, to the Journal. He added that he believed the argument persuaded Polish officials.
In past years, Poland has banned the parade, a move that contributed to the majority-Roman Catholic country's reputation for intolerance. The country will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union in July, a development that could intensify scrutiny of its LGBT rights record.
The Journal reports that, "As in years past, the city of Warsaw declined to become a patron of the parade, and Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz is not expected to attend. Among the official figures who have confirmed they will attend are politicians Grzegorz Napieralski, Janusz Palikot, Marek Borowski and Ryszard Kalisz."