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LGBT activist paints hard hats with rainbow colours to keep her safe from anti-gay violence

Ella Braidwood September 26, 2019

LGBT+ activist Alicja Sienkiewicz paints a hard hat. (Reuters)

One LGBT+ rights activist in Poland is spray painting hard hats with the Pride flag in a bid to keep her and other campaigners safe.

Alicja Sienkiewicz, 18, decided to emblazon the protective gear with the symbolic rainbow stripes after she went to a Pride parade in the Polish city of Bialystok in July, which was attacked by far-right extremists.

Sienkiewicz said she saw young men throwing firecrackers and kicking some parade attendees as they shouted homophobic slur, reports Reuters.

LGBT+ activist spray paints hard hats after violence at Pride parades.

Alicja Sienkiewicz has painted hard hats with the Pride colours. (Reuters)

Since the incident, Sienkiewicz and other activists have been painting hard hats for participants to wear at Pride events in Poland to help keep them safe.

“I’ve never been so afraid. They don’t see us as human beings, they see an enemy that they’ve created in their imagination,” Sienkiewicz told Reuters.

“They wanted to hurt us, they clearly wanted to hurt us.”

The anti-LGBT+ violence comes as Poland gears up for a general election on October 13.

The young activist added: “More and more people see what’s going on in Poland and they just leave.

They wanted to hurt us, they clearly wanted to hurt us.

“It’s easier for them, it is an escape, they can live in any other country where they’ll be treated just like any other citizen – our fight is for Poland to become such a country.”

Anti-LGBT+ violence comes as Poland prepares for general election.

Poland is a staunchly Catholic country with generally conservative views towards the LGBT+ community.

In April, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the chairman of Poland’s conservative ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), claimed that the LGBT+ rights movement was a “direct attack on the family and children”.

He also claimed that it was “imported”.

Kaczynski’s party is expected to win in next month’s general election and is comfortably ahead in public opinion polls.

Earlier this week, the mayor of Lublin banned a Pride parade in the city citing security concerns after it was disrupted with violence last year.

Police in riot gear were called in a bid to stop violent clashes at the July pride event in Biaĺystok.

Videos on social media showed participants being assaulted as extremists pelted them with rocks, glass bottles and firecrackers.

More: anti-gay violence, LGBT, Poland, Pride

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