Twenty-five detained after incidents at LGBT march in Białystok
Twenty-five hooligans have been detained and heard charges after violence erupted during the first LGBT march in Poland's eastern city of Białystok on Saturday, Deputy Interior Minister Jarosław Zieliński has said.
The First Equality March stirred emotions in the city where traditional values are still widely held. Football fans and far-right activists made a few attempts to stop the march, throwing stones, eggs and fire crackers at the participants.
Police had to use stun grenades, pepper spray and other measures to disperse the violent crowd that at some point turned against police as well, according to Tomasz Krupa, spokesman for the province police.
"In Białystok yesterday police did everything to provide security to the participants in legal gatherings and residents of the city. Twenty-five hooligans were detained and heard charges based on the Penal Code and Offence Code. All those who broke the law will be identified and punished," Zieliński wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Interior Minister Elżbieta Witek also condemned the violent behaviour on Twitter.
Several hundred policemen from the region and other cities as well as a border guard helicopter protected the march of about 800-1,000 participants.
After the incidents, opposition politicians appealed for the dismissal of the interior minister.
Later on Sunday, the leaders of a newly-formed coalition of three left-wing and liberal parties said they will organise a "march against violence" this coming Saturday in Białystok to protest against the incidents during the equality march.
The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the Left Together grouping and the Spring Party have sealed a coalition for the autumn parliamentary elections under the joint name The Left.