On August 6, members of the Poland opposition formed a rainbow with their outfits and masks at the swearing-in ceremony of Andrzej Duda as Polish President.
This act was a symbolic show of solidarity with the LGBT community as Duda’s polarizing election campaign was run along strongly homophobic lines. Duda won the election but it was by a thin margin in the closest election in the country since the end of communist rule in 1989.
The MPs, from Poland’s “Left” wing parties, wore rainbow masks and outfits in shades of the rainbow, sitting in rows, as Duda was sworn in on Thursday in the lower house of parliament, the Sejm. They also posed in and outside parliament with rainbow and white and red Polish flags.
Left-wing parliamentarians dress in the colours of the rainbow as Andrzej Duda is sworn in for a second term as president at the Polish parliament in Warsaw
📸 Wojtek Radwanski pic.twitter.com/un8tqqdrD9
— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 7, 2020
Duda had brought his Law and Justice party to power five years ago on a strong anti-migrant agenda, calling them ‘parasites’, and capitalizing on the idea of the external threat to gather support. This time, Duda’s presidential campaign presented homosexuality as the greatest threat to the nation, with Duda’s arguing that it is an ‘ideology’ that is ‘more dangerous than communism’.
After 6 Polish towns declared themselves as “LGBT free zones”, the European Union had criticized the move and announced that it withheld funding from these towns. Soon after, in protest of the homophobic culture of the country, activists hung rainbow flags on the major monuments of Poland, including the Mermaid of Warsaw, a symbol of Poland’s capital city; a statue of the famed astronomer Nicholas Copernicus; a memorial to Jozef Pilsudski, the father of Polish independence after the World War I; and a statue of Jesus bearing a cross in front of the Basilica of the Holy Cross.
This prompted political leaders such as the Deputy Minister of justice to condemn the act as offending religious beliefs and insulting national monuments. The activists responsible for the act were detained, charged, and released. These events had led to the rainbow flag being specially charged by the atmosphere of polarization and resistance from the events of the last few days.