The outrage in Poland is great after an LGBT artist decided to put a rainbow halo over the famous “Our Lady of Czestochowa” icon.
The painting portraying the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus has been revered by Catholics across Europe for centuries, and was symbolically crowned the “Queen of Poland” in the 17th Century.
A local artist, Ms Elzbieta Podlesna, keen on showing her support for gay rights which she felt were being mocked by an Easter display, used the image to make an LGBT poster which she plastered on city walls, much to the dismay of local Catholics (which make up 90% of Poland’s population).
She was arrested by police on 6 May after protests broke out. She was then taken to Plock for questioning and was charged with offending religious feelings, a crime in Poland, punishable by up to two years in prison.
In a tweet, Poland’s Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski applauded the police’s actions, writing: “All that nonsense about freedom and ‘tolerance’ does not give anyone the right to insult the feelings of the faithful.”
In response, Amnesty International is calling on the Polish authorities to drop the case and allow Ms Podlesna to continue her activities without harassment and reprisals from the authorities.
“I refuse to be told to shut up because there is a chance you will provoke somebody else. Wake up, defenders of human rights. Leave your offices, go out and say it is not fair,” Ms Podlesna said.