Europe

Polish newspaper to issue 'LGBT-free zone' stickers

A man waves a flag at a gay pride event in Poland, 2019 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Tens of thousands of people joined a pride march in Warsaw in June

The Polish conservative newspaper, Gazeta Polska, has said it will distribute "LGBT-free zone" stickers with its next issue.

The stickers show a black cross superimposed on a rainbow flag.

The weekly publication - which has a circulation of around 110,000 - openly supports the conservative governing Law and Justice party (PiS).

The move was criticised by the US ambassador to Poland, who said the stickers promoted hatred.

The newspaper's editor said his own views and those of the ambassador should both be respected.

A preview of the sticker was posted on Gazeta Polska's Twitter feed on Wednesday and it is due to be included in next week's edition.

US ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher expressed concern.

"I am disappointed and concerned that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance. We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of values such as diversity and tolerance," Ms Mosbacher tweeted.

In response, the newspaper's editor, Tomasz Sakiewicz, tweeted that "being an activist in the gay movement does not make anyone more tolerant".

"Poles love freedom and have known the word tolerance for centuries. That's why they supported the rise of the USA," he added.

Paweł Rabiej, the deputy mayor of Warsaw, said he would file a complaint about the stickers to the prosecutor's office.

"German fascists created Jew-free zones," he tweeted.

"As you can see this tradition finds worthy followers, this time in Poland," he said, adding that it was happening "under the umbrella" of the governing party and bishops.

Polish attitudes to homosexuality are evolving but gay marriage is still outlawed, unlike in many Western European countries.

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