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Right-wing Polish magazine slammed for anti-LGBT stickers

July 24, 2019
Police use tear gas at a group of young men who were trying to block the first LGBT pride parade in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok, Poland, on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (AP Photo)
Police use tear gas at a group of young men who were trying to block the first LGBT pride parade in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok, Poland, on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (AP Photo)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A right-wing, pro-government weekly magazine in Poland has drawn widespread criticism for distributing so-called “LGBT-free zone” stickers.

The outcry began last week when Gazeta Polska, which focuses on conservative values, said on Twitter it would be distributing the stickers, which feature a rainbow flag with two black bars across it, with its issue Wednesday.

Opposition politicians condemned the publication, and distribution points including Empik newsagent and BP Polska gas stations refused to accept Wednesday’s issue, arguing they were discriminatory.

Trade unions of the national airline LOT appealed for the magazine to be removed from its airplanes, and a rally for tolerance was held in the city of Gdansk.

U.S. Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher tweeted she was “disappointed and disturbed.” The European Trade Union Confederation said it was “appalled” at the stickers and said they were a “provocation and an insult to members of the LGBT community.”

The weekly said it was “defending freedom and true tolerance.”

A debate on LGBT rights is growing in predominantly Catholic Poland ahead of parliamentary elections in the fall, in which the ruling Law and Justice party is expected to emerge as the winner.

Conservative government members have spoken against same-sex marriage, but they also condemned violence by radical groups Saturday against the first LGBT rights march in the city of Bialystok.

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