Ban on LGBT march in Lublin overruled following appeal

The Court of Appeal in Lublin has decided to lift a ban on an LGBT march which was issued by the city’s mayor Krzysztof Żuk, who cited possible threats to security as justification for not allowing the march to take place. “It is unacceptable to ban a gathering because of the reaction of its opponents”, the court said.

Lublin mayor bans first LGBT march citing security concerns

The city official has banned the planned march and the counter-protests citing security concerns.

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The Equality March is to take place on October 13. However, earlier this week the Lublin mayor decided to cancel the event. The official reasons cited were alleged threats to security of the city due to opposition to the march that called for a counter manifestation.

Police subsequently released a statement in which it acknowledged the potential security issues but also highlighted its ability to provide safety to the participants.

The march organisers decided to appeal the mayor’s decision in a regional court but their petition was rejected. Supported by Polish Ombudsman, Adam Bodnar, they took their case to the Court of Appeal.

“The curbing of basic freedoms, like the freedom of assembly, needs to be proportionate to the threat. In this case, freedoms were restricted based on assumptions alone. A ban should be based on high probabilities that a march would constitute a security threat of which, in this case, there were none”, said lawyers representing the march organisers.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal in Lublin announced that it was unlawful for the mayor to ban the march as there was no legal basis for such a decision.

“Freedom of assembly is crucial in a democratic country and is a condition of a democratic society’s existence”, it stated in the verdict’s justification.

“The possibility to organize a march is the local community’s guarantee of influence over public authorities. It is unacceptable to ban a gathering because of the reaction of its opponents”, the court said.

The decision means that on Saturday, October 13, both the Equality March and the counter manifestation will take place.

“Of course, we will respect the court’s ruling just like we always do”, the Lublin Mayor said in the reaction to the decision.“I therefore ask the police to provide adequate security for the gatherings planned for tomorrow.”

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