- Yesterday, on Monday, Małgorzata has been arrested again. As far as we know, the arrest follows an order issued by the prosecutor’s office. We’re not sure what the exact charges are. No official statement has been issued yet. We believe the arrest might be connected to the action involving hanging rainbow flags on some of Warsaw’s statues. We’re still waiting to hear back from our lawyer – says Marta Puczyńska, a representative of the anti-repression collective SZPILA, which provides the activists with legal support.
News of the arrest of one of its members were also announced on Facebook by the Stop Bzdurom (Stop Bullshit) collective, a group co-responsible for the action: “Just now, undercover cops busted Margot. She was pulled off the street without hearing any charges. She was handcuffed and put into an unmarked vehicle. We’ll keep you updated”.
Police: „ activists are suspects in a case involving offending religious feelings”
Ms. Puczyńska confirms that another activist, Łania, was arrested yesterday morning. – Police officers entered her friend’s apartment and took her to the police station on Wilcza street, in the centre of Warsaw. Based on our information, the apartment is still being searched – she adds.
Both women are now consulting their lawyers. For one of the activists, Małgorzara Szutowicz, it’s already the second time she’s being arrested within just a month. On July 14, she wrote a post on her social media informing that she was “dragged out of her apartment by the police, barefoot”. Allegedly, the activist is being suspected of destroying a van that is driving around Warsaw spreading homophobic propaganda though its loudspeakers. The vehicle appeared in the Ursynów district a few weeks ago.
In an interview, a Left MP, Hanna Gill-Piątek, pointed out that she is in touch with the detainees. – We know that both activists are being questioned and have their lawyers present. On our part, tonight we’ll intervene and visit the police stations where they are held. In our experience, such visits make the detention conditions much better – she said.
A reminder: last week, rainbow flags were hung on some of the most prominent statues in Poland’s capital city, including the statue of Copernicus, Wincenty Witos, Marshal Józef Piłsudzki, the Mermaid of Warsaw, and the sculpture of Christ Bearing His Cross. The last one sparking the most controversy and critical comments among conservative commentators and politicians.
On July 30, we have learned that the Warsaw prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the case. Aleksandra Skrzyniarz, the prosecutor’s office spokesperson, informed us that the case concerns “insulting monuments commemorating historical figures and events by placing rainbow flags and masks with an anarchist symbol on them, and sticking sheets of paper containing a manifesto on their bases. The act is a violation of law under Article 261 of the Criminal Code, as well as Article 196, i.e. insulting of religious feelings by publicly insulting the object of religious worship. In this case- placing a rainbow flag on the monument of Jesus Christ in front of the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, and covering the face of the figure with a mask with an anarchist symbol”
On Tuesday, shortly before 4:00 p.m., in a post on Twitter, the Warsaw Police Headquarters announced that the activists were detained over suspicion of their involvement in a case concerning “offending religious feelings and vandalising Warsaw statues”. “The activists were arrested. The case is in progress. It’s only a matter of time before the remaining suspects are arrested, too”.
Besides hanging rainbow flags on statues, activists also left copies of their manifesto. It read: “This is a raid! This is an attack! This is a rainbow! Commemorating those who fell in their daily struggle against hatred. Those, who were strong enough to take a leap in the dark. Giving faith to those, who saw their freedom and safety stolen by the state. Calling for an open war on discrimination. Ordering not to plead. Never again beg for respect and mercy. This city belongs to us all. F*** you, ignorants”.
Claiming responsibility for the action are: a radical, feminist and queer collective Stop Bzdurom (Stop Bullshit), Gang Samzamęt, and the Poet.
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