15-year-old boy holding crucifix blocks LGBT march in Poland
A 15-year-old boy blocked an LGBT+ equality march in the city of Płock, in Poland, on Saturday while wielding a crucifix to “counteract evil deeds”.
The teenager, Jakub Baryła, describes himself as a “Catholic, traditionalist, conservative and patriot”.
He told wPolityce.pl he came up with the idea when he first heard about the Pride march, but he was worried about how people would react.
“However, when I saw a wonderful picture of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo I decided that I had to come back to my idea,” he said.
Jakub Baryła had to be removed by riot police.
He continued: “I asked for a cross from a priest from a Płock parish. The priest was afraid of atheists profaning the Holy Cross, but he gave me a crucifix.
“I wanted as many people as possible to see my gesture. I wanted to make them reflect and discuss. First, I walked with a cross in my hand in front of the police cordon protecting the equality march.
“Later I sat on the pavement and prayed in Latin with the words Salve Regina. I directed my prayer to the Mother of God, the ideal of purity. Policemen came to me and asked me to get out of the way.
“I said I couldn’t do it because the participants of the march are destroying my Catholic faith and profaning the Polish flag by placing a rainbow on it.”
Riot police then had to physically remove Baryła as he refused to move out of the way of the march.
The teenager was hailed by an English deacon as a “Catholic hero”.
He later wrote on Twitter: “Our Holy Faith commands us to counteract evil deeds. I tried to do it. Saying that I was going against people is harmful, I was going against the bad deeds that are promoting homosexuality.”
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English Catholic deacon Nick Donnelly tweeted that Baryła was a “Catholic hero”.
The Monitoring Center on Racist and Xenophobic Behaviour, in Warsaw, said in a statement: “This is another example of nationalists using children for political struggle.
“The parents are irresponsible to risk the life and health of their 15-year-old child by sending them to the scene of the march to deliberately prevent police work.
“We stress that the 15-year-old under the applicable laws is a child. And no one has the right to send him to ‘fight’ with the police.”
The organisation also said that the boy had been previously seen at “meetings with racists and homophobes.
Anti-LGBT+ sentiment has been increasing in Poland and LGBT+ rights have become a contentious issue ahead of the October 13 parliamentary election.