Student protest as president Duda inaugurates academic year
President Andrzej Duda's visit to the University of Warsaw marking the inauguration of the academic year sparked protests by students on Thursday. A crowd accusing the head of state of homophobic comments gathered in front of the Auditorium Maximum hall.
Before 2pm on Thursday, a crowd of protesters carrying rainbow flags gathered at the University of Warsaw main campus. As TVN24 reporter Paweł Łukasik said at the time, their demonstration was a spontaneous reaction to the fact that president Andrzej Duda would be attending the official inauguration of the academic year.
"So far, the president hasn't arrived here, but he is awaited by dozens of people, maybe a hundred, holding a big rainbow flag" - Łukasik said. "We're here because we don't want president Andrzej Duda entering our university as he claims we're not normal people" - said one of the students.
Another protester gave a similar answer to the TVN24 reporter. "We're protesting against the comments and decisions (by the president)" - said one of the protesters and added that the president was speaking out against the rights of minorities.
The protesters were cordoned off by the university guard. When the university governing board and the student council members appeared in front of the building, the crowd chanted "freedom, equality, acceptance", and "homophobia is a killer". The biggest uproar was sparked by the president's arrival. The protesters began catcalling and shouting various slogans such as: "kids die because of you".
"There was no direct interaction. At one point, the president turned around, smiled and waved at the crowd, which kept on accusing the president of homophobia" - Paweł Łukasik said. He added that the whole situation lasted about a minute. A bit later the protesters moved in front of the university gates where they left the rainbow flag. The protest ended around 3pm.
The president spoke during the inauguration, but he didn't refer directly to the incident that happened outside the Auditorium Maximum. "He only spoke about political freedom at universities, about its importance and why it should be preserved, as there had been times in our country that it wasn't so" - said TVN24 reporter.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, tvnwarszawa.pl
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Mateusz Marek / PAP