Polish activist held by police for depicting Catholic icon with LGBT rainbow
© Getty

Rights activists in Poland are demonstrating following the temporary detainment of a woman who altered the image of a Catholic icon to include LGBT rainbows.

Prosecutors said the woman heard charges of insulting religious feelings and desecration of the icon of Mother of God of Czestochowa, also called Black Madonna of Czestochowa, a painting that has been inside a Polish monastery for hundreds of years, according to The Associated Press


Elzbieta Podlesna, the 51-year-old activist, put up posters with the changed image on walls and garbage cans and other places near St. Dominik’s church in the central city of Plock, the wire service reported Tuesday. She did not damage the original painting. 

“This is certainly not an attack on religion, certainly not an attack on faith, this is not a form of attack,” the activist said of her actions on the Polish channel TVN24, according to the AP. 

“How can you attack anyone using a picture, let’s be serious,” she added.

European Council President Donald Tusk said he did not comprehend the Polish authorities' reaction to the posters, according to the AP.

Patryk Jaki, the deputy Justice Minister in Poland, however, argued that the images were part of an effort to “humiliate Catholics” and needed to be stopped. 

Podlesna's detainment has brought to light tensions between the country's free speech laws and those outlawing hostility toward religion. 

The activist said she was detained for several hours on Monday. She faces up to two years in prison or a fine if convicted.