In a surprise, but very welcome move, citizens from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine will be all able to attend the June 11 gay pride march held in Warsaw without paying the usual visa fees.
The new directive has been in place for several weeks already and organizers of the “Equality Parade” say a few hundred people will benefit from the special measure. In order not to pay the fees, people from the three countries must ascertain that their aim in coming to Poland is really to attend the parade. The parade’s organizing committee has put a verification system in place together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was smooth, said Jej Perfekcyjność (She is perfection), the spokesperson of the parade’s organization committee.
“What we wrote in our letter to the Ministry was that Poland in the 17th and 18th century was famous for its tolerance, and that we are trying to change Poland and let people around Europe know that Poland was and will become again a tolerant country,” he said, adding that in his opinion this argument had convinced the Ministry to agree to waive the fees.
The organizers hope that this year’s parade will attract more than last year’s (lower than expected) 8,000 people, and that the Warsaw pride will become the most important one out of those which take place in all other Central and Eastern European countries.