Gay pride parade goes across Warsaw after pandemic break

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Thousands of LGBTQ people and their supporters, including the Warsaw mayor and a number of foreign ambassadors, marched through the streets of Warsaw on Saturday in the 20th Equality Parade, the first one in two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski extended patronage over the parade for a second time as part of his mayoral agenda of supporting minorities living in the Polish capital.

A number of foreign ambassadors as well as Polish centrist and left parliamentarians also took part in the event that took place in temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Centigrade.

"This is a place where everyone smiles, (and where there is) no aggression," Trzaskowski said. "This is the place where the heart of a smiling Poland is beating."

LGBTQ people have complained about what they see as discrimination of their community by the ruling conservative United Right coalition as well as police during recent years.

"After two years, during which we have been hurt as the LGBT community of Warsaw, we are going out stronger, we are united," Rafał Wojtczak, spokesperson for the Voluntary Service for Equality Foundation, said at a press conference before the parade.

Due to the current epidemic restrictions which impose a limit of 150 people per public gathering, the parade was split into several separate gatherings, with a distance of 100 metres being kept between the groups.

The first Equality Parade took place in 2001, with just a handful of participants.