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Lawmakers dress in rainbow colors in silent protest at Polish president’s inauguration

Polish lawmakers protest the President's inauguration by wearing rainbow colored outfits
Polish lawmakers protest the President's inauguration by wearing rainbow colored outfitsPhoto: @sarajawadart

Polish lawmakers protested President Andrzej Duda’s inauguration by wearing rainbow-colored outfits and arranging themselves to form the pride flag during the ceremony. They also wore rainbow-colored masks.

Duda won reelection by demonizing LGBTQ people and campaigning against adoption and marriage rights. The phrase “LGBT are not people, they are an ideology” was a campaign staple.

Related: Gay couple hands out rainbow face masks in Poland’s “LGBT-free zones”

Duda, who said that this “LGBT ideology” was more destructive than communism, also pledged to ban same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, as well as the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools.

Duda’s rhetoric has trickled down to local leadership, Philippe Dam, the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, told NBC News. Local politicians, empowered by sentiment from the top, have established LGBT-free zones throughout the country. Unsurprisingly, the LGBTQ advocacy group ILGA has said Poland is the worst country in Europe for LGBTQ rights.

While Donald Trump tweeted congratulations to his “friend,” Duda, opposition lawmakers took the opportunity to rebuke the authoritarian leader.

“The President of Poland should defend the rights of all citizens,” Magda Biejat, one of the protesting MPs, wrote on Twitter with photos from the protest.

European Parliament member Robert Biedroń also tweeted a photo, adding the MPs were protesting “in defense of people’s freedom and dignity.”

Earlier this year, British embassy staff called out Poland’s anti-LGBTQ policies by wearing rainbow face masks at work all day.

“While right now we all need to focus on fighting COVID-19, we must not forget to continue protecting the values in which we believe,” the British Ambassador said.

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