Multiple arrests after Warsaw LGBT protest

. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Police have arrested 48 people after LGBT rights activists staged a protest on Friday evening in central Warsaw over a court decision to detain another LGBT rights activist for damaging a van with anti-LGBT slogans in June. The protest evolved into skirmishes with police.

Police spokesman have informed PAP that the arrests have been reported to the prosecution.

On June 27, the detained activist, Michał Sz., actively participated in a street gathering in Warsaw, in whose course he damaged a van belonging to a pro-life foundation by cutting its tires and tarpaulin, tearing off a rear-view mirror, detaching a license plate, damaging the rear view camera and staining the vehicle with paint.

He also faces charges of attacking a pro-life activist who was filming the incident, causing injuries to his back and left wrist.

Michał Sz. has been sentenced to two months in detention. Prosecutors have said he may face a 5-year prison sentence.

On Friday Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro criticised the Polish opposition's protests against the arrest, opining that "opposition politicians have put themselves on the side of banditry, and defending banditry is something unheard of." Ziobro added that the opposition should apologise to the police and Michał Sz's victim for their stance in the matter.

"The law enforcement authorities did what it was their job to do and what Polish law ordains to be done in such cases,", Ziobro said.

Ziobro's words came in connection with Friday's interventions against Michał Sz's detention by MPs from the opposing Civic Coalition (KO) and The Left. KO's Klaudia Jachira said on Friday that the arrest "had nothing to do with the rule of law."

On Saturday Sejm (lower house) Deputy Speaker Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, a former KO presidential candidate, demanded a report on the Friday events from the prime minister.