Metro Weekly

White nationalists wipe feet on Pride flag at festival in Poland

Far-right nationalists gathered to celebrate Poland's Independence Day, despite a court ban on the event

poland, pride flag, lgbtq, feet,
People wipe their feet on a Pride flag at a white nationalist booth in Poland — Image: Facebook

White nationalists in Poland invited guests at a festival booth to wipe their feet on a Pride flag, in the latest example of the country’s backward slide on LGBTQ rights.

The incident took place on Nov. 11, during Poland’s far-right Independence Day gathering in Warsaw, Storyful reports.

The event was banned by a court order due to past instances of violence, but that was challenged by Poland’s nationalistic and anti-LGBTQ Law and Justice government.

Footage from the event, which featured an estimated 100,000 people, captured attendees at a booth for All-Poland Youth wiping their feet on a Pride flag.

The far-right nationalist group streamed the display of hate on Facebook, showing attendees repeatedly treading and deliberately wiping their feet on the flag while perusing merchandise at All-Poland’s booth.

White nationalists in Poland
Image: Facebook

Earlier this year, the European Union launched legal action against Poland due to the country’s worsening attitudes towards LGBTQ people.

Dozens of regions and municipalities have introduced so-called “LGBT-free zones,” declaring that LGBTQ people are not welcome within their boundaries and considering LGBTQ rights to be a form of “propaganda” that runs counter to the right-wing government’s attempts to promote family structure and increase birth rates.

Related: EU declared “LGBTIQ freedom zone” to counter Poland’s “LGBT-free” cities

A few of those regions have since repealed the “LGBT-free” zones, after the European Commission threatened to pull up to $150 million in funding.

The resolutions had largely been symbolic ammunition for Poland’s culture war. Led by anti-LGBTQ populist Viktor Orban and his right-wing Law and Justice party, the country does not legally recognize transgender people or same-sex relationships, or allow same-sex couples to adopt children.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro had called the EU’s pressure “an attack on Poland and local governments, saying it “amounted to blackmail.”

Related: Joe Biden criticizes ‘LGBT-free zones’ in Poland

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has repeatedly spoken out against the rising levels of anti-LGBTQ intolerance in some EU member states.

“Europe will never allow parts of our society to be stigmatised: be it because of whom they love, because of their age, their ethnicity, their political opinions, or their religious beliefs,” she said earlier this month.

Von der Leyen previously slammed Poland’s “LGBT-free zones,” calling them “humanity-free zones” and saying they have “no place in our Union.”

“I will not rest when it comes to building a union of equality,” von der Leyen said at the time. “A Union where you can be who you are and love who you want — without fear of recrimination or discrimination.

“Because being yourself is not your ideology,” she added. “It’s your identity. And no one can ever take it away.”

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