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Posted: Saturday, 11 February 2006 8:17PM

Gay Activists Protest Polish President During Chicago Visit

Bob Roberts Reporting - LINK

CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio 780) -- Poland's President has completed an overnight stay in Chicago.

WBBM Newsradio 780's Bob Roberts reports that, before leaving the Windy City, President Lech Kaczynski laid a wreath at a memorial to Revolutionary War hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a native of Poland whose engineering feats were instrumental as American colonists won their freedom from Britain.

Members of Chicago's Polish-American community lined Solidarity Drive in the Museum campus, to witness the ceremony.

Kaczynski, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Mayor Daley took turns placing wreaths at the statue and then posed together for photos.

As they did so, gay rights activists gathered in Daley Plaza and protested the meeting.

Gay Liberation Network coordinator Bob Schwartz said Daley and Blagojevich should have turned their backs on Kaczynski, because of Kaczynski's opposition to gay rights activists in Poland, particularly when he was Mayor of Warsaw.

"Kaczynski denied gays the right to assemble and march in Warsaw," Schwartz said, saying it was a violation of fundamental rights recognized by the European Community.

The activists said Daley and the governor should have had nothing to do with Kaczynski, whom gay rights activist Andy Thayer called a "vile and disgusting man."

The wreath-laying ceremony ended a whirlwind visit to Chicago, which is reputedly home to the largest concentration of ethnic Poles outside of Warsaw.

Kaczynski was honored Friday night at a dinner hosted by the Polish American Congress. Before coming to Chicago, he met in Washington with President Bush.


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