Polish protestors lit up the night on Nov. 11 when they torched a massive rainbow sculpture in Warsaw's Public Square during an Independence Day March that turned violent.
According to Al Jazeera, the demonstrators, who carried Celtic crosses and wielded white power fists, belonged to far-right radical groups All-Polish Youth and the National-Radical Camp. In addition to burning down the rainbow installation in Plac Zbawicela, the groups also reportedly attacked the nation's Russian embassy.
While the sculpture itself has no official attachment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement, its creator reportedly intended the work of art to stand for diversity. Over time, the art installation indepedently became a symbol of the gay rights movement, with The New York Times reporting in March that demonstrators had tried to set the rainbow abaze on four separate occasions.
"What was intended as a work of public art without an overt political message beyond the need for inclusiveness, according to the artist behind it, has instead become part of a culture war over homosexuality that has been brewing in one of Europe’s most Catholic countries," the New York Times reported.
“In 2011, Poland was seen as a homophobic country,” Julita Wojcik, the sculpture's creator, said in an interview earlier this year. “I wanted to show that we’re not closed, but open-minded.”
The violent Independence Day March continued for two hours before Polish police revoked the permit granted to the participants.