The participants of the 2nd Equality March walked along the main streets of Białystok. The event was secured by many policemen. Counter-demonstrations were also organized in the city.
The march started at Rynek Kościuszki, the participants walked, among others, along Piłsudskiego Avenue and Lipowa Street, and then returned to the market square.
As announced by the organizers of the Tęczowy Białystok association, this year’s edition of the Equality March was to emphasize, in addition to protection against discrimination and violence by LGBT + people, including refugee rights or the fight against climate change.
“Being gay is ok”
The participants of the march had rainbow accents with them, such as flags and umbrellas. “Being gay is ok”, “Everyone else, everyone is equal”, “A human being a human”, “Is it absurd that we want to live normally?”, “We have the right to be ourselves”, “Limits of humanity” – these are some of the slogans on banners. The march was secured by the police
Counter-demonstrators also gathered
The participants of the counter-demonstration also gathered in front of the cathedral.
– When the Equality March started, this group stayed in the vicinity of Kościuszko Square. These are most likely national backgrounds. It is hard to say as a particular group, but these people are certainly in opposition to the Second Equality March. Their slogans show that they definitely do not support the LGBT community – our reporter Marta Abramczyk-Dzikiewicz said on TVN24.
Participant: we want to show solidarity
One of the participants of the march with whom she spoke said that she feels safe and the atmosphere is very good. – We came here from Warsaw. We are allies and allies. We want to show solidarity – she said.
In addition to the Equality March, nine assemblies were to be held in Białystok on Saturday. National circles have announced several counter-demonstrations.
The authorities of Białystok, due to such a large number of assemblies in the city that day, appointed a crisis management team to monitor the situation. It was chaired by the deputy president of Białystok, Przemysław Tuchliński.
The two groups were separated by a cordon of police
Around 3 p.m. the participants of the march returned to their place of departure. The police cordon separated them from the ethnic groups that stood with their banners on the other side of Kościuszko Square.
– The policemen are trying to separate these two sides so that they do not reach each other and there is no clash, probably remembering the pictures from two years ago, when the first Equality March was organized in Białystok. So far, fortunately, we have not seen any dangerous situations occur here – our reporter said.
Bartosz Bielenia: every presence counts, is important and necessary
Bartosz Bielenia, an actor from Białystok, also came to the march. – After what happened here two years ago, I thought that every presence counts, is important and necessary. I think love is the most important for the less. It does not matter who to whom and in what form – he spoke in front of the TVN24 camera.
The Bialystok March for Life and Family is planned for tomorrow under the slogan “Dad – be, lead, protect”. He is to leave at 1.30 pm in front of the cathedral in Białystok. The organizers of the event are Catholic circles.
During the first march there were clashes and police intervention
The first Equality March went through the streets of Białystok on July 20, 2019. It was widely commented on throughout Poland. It was accompanied by several counter-demonstrations, clashes and police interventions. Firecrackers, eggs and bottles were thrown at the participants. Offensive words were also shouted out.
The officers identified over 140 people who committed various crimes and offenses during the march. Several cases ended with indictments and final judgments. There was, among others a one-year and two-month prison sentence for a 25-year-old for a rowdy attack on a teenager who came to the march. Four other people were sentenced to a suspended prison sentence for attacking four young people, and there were similar sentences for actively attacking police officers.
The equality march is taking place in Białystok for the second time
Main photo source: Artur Reszko / PAP