Gay to defend their rights in Warsaw

Gay are preparing for annual gay march in Warsaw, which officials try to ban many eyras, but unsuccessfully. The parade, which lawmakers from western European countries also planned to attend, was to start at Poland's parliament building. More than 5,000 people were expected.

The Equality Parade comes as an increasingly vocal gay rights movement faces off against conservative leaders determined to maintain the status quo.

Homosexuality remains very much a taboo in Poland and much of the region, and activists are up against a widespread belief that it is a perversion.

Former Warsaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski, now the country's president, refused to grant permits for the parade in 2004 and 2005, saying allowing homosexuals to demonstrate openly threatens civilization.

However, marchers rallied in defiance of the ban and the attempt to stop the march drew criticism from throughout Europe. This year, city authorities granted permission for the event, reports the AP.