The accession of Eastern European countries to the EU is supposed to have helped bring up respect for human rights there to “modern” standards. Maybe not.
The “Law and Justice Party” government’s attempts to suppress opposition and minorities began with the banning of the gay pride demonstration in Warsaw in June last year and led to the violent suppression of a civil society demonstration in Poznan in November 2005 — both, of course, in clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Now, after a week long police siege, Warsaw authorities have closed down Le Madame, a pub and cultural centre, and the party headquarters of Zieloni 2004 (the Polish Green Party), which were situated in the same building. The pub, owned by black gay activist Krystian Legierski, was used by socialists, anarchists, feminists and gay rights campaigners, and was a main venue for radical left meetings.
The week-long occupation of Le Madame against eviction attracted a lot of support, including from Social Democrat ex-Parliamentary President Marek Borkowski and Polish-American actor John Malkovich (!). An ongoing programme of protests and street actions demanding its reopening is planned.