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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 June, 2005, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Gay marchers ignore ban in Warsaw
Gay and lesbian march in Warsaw, 11 June 2005
Poland's gays are campaigning against discrimination
About 2,500 gay rights campaigners have marched in the Polish capital, Warsaw, defying a ban by the city's mayor.

The marchers carried rainbow flags and banners with slogans including "A gay is not a paedophile" and "Law and justice for all".

There were isolated clashes as opponents threw eggs and shouted insults. About 10 people were arrested.

Mayor Lech Kaczynski, favourite to win October's presidential vote, had banned the parade for a second year running.

The marchers were joined by a number of politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka and two German MPs from the Green Party, Claudia Roth and Volkar Beck.

"Mayor Kaczynski, democracy also means freedom of assembly and expression for gays and lesbians," Ms Roth told the crowd.

The organisers of the parade said they wanted to highlight the problems faced by homosexuals in mainly Roman Catholic Poland.

"Homosexuals in Poland are still treated as deviants, paedophiles," one of the marchers, 31-year-old lawyer Paulina Pilch, told AP news agency.

"Such demonstrations are needed so people get to know us better and get used to us."

Mr Kaczynski has said that allowing an official Gay Pride event in Warsaw would promote a "homosexual lifestyle".

He banned the parade on the grounds that the application by the parade organisers had not been properly filed.


SEE ALSO:
Spanish mayors condemn gay bill
27 Apr 05 |  Europe
Social taboos pressure lesbian love
06 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Brazil hosts huge Gay Pride march
30 May 05 |  Americas
In pictures: Brazil gay parade
30 May 05 |  In Pictures
Thousands party at Gay Pride
05 Jul 04 |  England


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