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anonymous contributorWritten anonymously. (English)


tagged with: homophobia / poland
The mayor of Berlin along with activists from “Campaign against Homophobia (Poland) and Maneo
Human rights forum is planned in Warsaw/Poland

in GERMANY, 06/07/2004

Christopher-Street-Day prize for civil courage is awarded to the Polish civil rights campaigners “Campaign against homophobia”.

This years Berlins CSD’s prize for civil courage is awarded to the “Campaign against Homophobia” . Maneo’s staff is delivering an eulogy, praising the courage of their friends in Warsaw and Krakow. Next summer Maneo, with cooperation from “Kampagne,” is planning a human rights forum in Warsaw.

More than 20,000 people attended this years’ final speech at the Berlin CSD parade at the Siegesäule. Because of the much admired effort of the “Campaign against Homophobia” which organized the march of tolerance in Krakow and supported Warsaw’s CSD, which was banned by Warsaw’s mayor, this organization was awarded with the special prize for civil courage.

In their eulogy Ralf Strauss and Bastian Finke of Maneo emphasized the bravery and civil courage shown by lesbians, gays, friends and supporters in Krakow and Warsaw.

Despite a horrifying propaganda of hatred by the Catholic right wing circle prior to the Krakow march,1,500 people were not intimidated to protest against hatred, violence and discrimination and their shouts of “Tolerantija” filled the streets. The demonstration was not sufficiently protected by police forces, and was therefore attacked by 300 right-wing protestors, armed with stones and even hydrochloric acid.

Receiving the audience approval, Ralf Strauss called out to the mayor of Warsaw from Berlin’s CSD stage:“Tear down this wall of intolerance in Warsaw, lift the ban of the CSD in Warsaw.”

Accompanied by an enormous applause the civil courage prize with a red and white floral decoration was awarded to the Polish civil rights group. They thanked the audience with the words: “Today we are Berliners too.”

Earlier that day the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, declared that he could not understand the ban on the CSD in Warsaw and stated that it is a scandal, when lesbians and gays are marked as perverts.

Volker Beck, German MP of Germany’s Green party underlined in his speech his disgust over the ban and reported that he had written two letters to the Polish foreign minister to express his protest. Freedom of opinion and freedom of assembly are mandatory in Europe, including Catholic countries.

The day following the CSD, Maneo held a public discussion in Mann-O-Meter. The
“Maneo Matinee” was chaired by a member of staff from RFI (Radio France International), who reported that the Polish embassy in Paris had been targeted with paintballs. Members of the “Campaign against Homophobia” reported on the lack of bravery shown by civil and forward-thinking circles in Poland in order to speak out against homophobia and violence in public. Through the discussion it quickly emerged how important the public is in Germany and in Europe. Partnerships and
personal protection by publicly known ambassadors, especially from Germany and in France are said to be a great help.

Bastian Finke reported that Maneo and the “Campaign against Homophobia” are
planning a civil rights forum in Warsaw
next year, addressing the issues of
homophobia and discrimination. He reminded that already in 1998 the gay emergency support hotline held a similar meeting in Berlin. This meeting was attended by several Polish MPs. The city of Berlin is twinned with Warsaw, and with support from Paris and other friends in Europe it should support this project.

Berlin, 28.06.2004

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