Catholic nations Poland, Croatia and Italy see gay pride marches

Catholic nations Poland, Croatia and Italy see gay pride marches

Catholic nations Poland, Croatia and Italy see gay pride marches

People march past the Colosseum during the Gay Pride parade in Rome, Saturday, June 11, 2016. Italy joined the rest of Europe last month in giving some legal rights to gay couples after a years-long battle and opposition from the Catholic Church to anything that smacked of authorizing gay marriage. (AP Photo/Fabio Frustaci)

Parades in Poland and Croatia come amid mounting right-wing sentiments that pose new challenges to gay rights activists, while in Italy, the gay pride celebration comes after lawmakers granted some legal rights to same-sex couples.

WARSAW, Poland — Several thousand people marched Saturday in colorful gay pride events in Italy, Poland and Croatia urging support for minority rights in the mostly Catholic nations.

The parades in Poland and Croatia come amid mounting right-wing sentiments that pose new challenges to gay rights activists. In Italy, however, the gay pride celebration comes after lawmakers granted some legal rights to same-sex couples.

Balloons and flags in rainbow colors marked both the Equality March in the Polish capital of Warsaw and Zagreb’s Gay Pride event while participants at the parade in Rome were more daring, baring a bit of skin in some cases.

In Zagreb, former interior minister Ranko Ostojic and several well-known public figures joined the event dubbed “Croatia is Not Over Yet.” Ostojic says “I am glad to be here today, this is my Croatia.”

Liberals have warned that Croatia has been tilting to the right under a conservative government that took over in January. Similarly in Poland, there are concerns for minority rights under a right-wing government that took office in November.

Police secured both those marches.

“In a country like Italy where LGBT rights are not fully recognized, the fact of showing ourselves in public in front of other people means that we are claiming our presence. In this moment we are saying: ‘even if you do not agree with us, we are here,'” said Nadir Signori, a participant in Italy’s march from Brescia.

In Zagreb, former interior minister Ranko Ostojic and several well-known public figures joined an event dubbed “Croatia is Not Over Yet.” Ostojic says “I am glad to be here today, this is my Croatia.”

Liberals have warned that Croatia has been tilting to the right under a conservative government that took over in January. Similarly in Poland, there are concerns for minority rights under a right-wing government that took office in November.

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