Non-binary Polish activist detained for two months over LGBT+ protests ‘thrown into unmarked car and subjected to transphobia’
A group of queer feminist activists have revealed the shocking treatment they received at the hands of Polish police after being arrested in connection with LGBT+ rights protests.
Three members of the Stop Bzdurom (Stop Bulls**t) group were detained by Warsaw Police last week after a statue of Jesus was decorated with a Pride flag and a pink anarchist bandana.
They were released after pleading innocent to charges of “desecrating” the monuments, but days later police took the extreme step of placing one member, Margot (full name Małgorzata Szutowicz) in pre-trial detention where she will remain for two months.
She was charged with civil disobedience relating to an earlier protest, in which she allegedly vandalised a van broadcasting vile homophobic messages.
Margot’s arrest was witnessed by hundreds of supporters, with Reuters reporting that 48 demonstrators were violently detained while trying to prevent officers from taking her into custody.
Though she was misgendered by a police statement, Margot is non-binary, and was forced to endure “transphobic comments and jokes” during the group’s initial arrest, another member told PinkNews.
Margot’s fellow Stop Bzdurom activist, Łania, told of how the trio were surveilled and bundled into unmarked cars last week.
“A campaign of hatred towards sexual minorities has been going on in Poland for a long time,” Stop Bzdurom said in a statement to PinkNews.
The arrests were, they believe, just “one more form of oppression, to intimidate LGBT+ activists”.
Margot was stopped, handcuffed and ‘put into an unmarked car’.
On Monday evening (August 3), Margot was “stopped by police in the street, handcuffed and put into an unmarked police car”.
The following morning (August 4), officers turned up at the home of an ally to the group looking for Łania.
“They tracked her down as a result of surveillance and forcefully transferred her to a police station,” the statement continued.
The third activist was arrested in “the middle of nowhere”, on vacation in the south of Poland.
“No reasons were given, but we later learned that hanging rainbow flags was the reason.”
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All three were questioned, “but pleaded innocent and refused to provide explanations”.
“We are waiting for our case in court,” Stop Bzdurom added.
This behaviour mirrors an earlier arrest in July. According to a fundraiser, police “dragged Margot out of the flat in her pyjamas (without shoes, socks or a sweatshirt), and took her to an unmarked car, threatening her with abuse and death, calling her a faggot and a loser”.
Stop Bzdurom has promised to continue rallying against police violence and the suppression of LGBT+ people following this “disproportionate” show of force.
Poland’s commissioner for human rights Adam Bodnar has condemned the police’s actions against those who sought to protect Margot, and has launched a preliminary investigation into claims officers violated basic human rights.
“In a democratic state ruled by law, all citizens, regardless of any characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity, should enjoy their full rights with a sense of safety and dignity,” he wrote.
“I stress that the protection of this safety is one of the basic tasks of the police.”