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Warsaw bans far-right anniversary march

November 8, 2018

Warsaw's mayor wants to avoid the racism that plagued last year's independence day celebrations in Poland's capital. But the nationalist government has other ideas.

Protesters light flares and carry Polish flags during a rally, organised by far-right, nationalist groups, to mark 99th anniversary of Polish independence in Warsaw, Poland November 11, 2017
Image: Reuters/Agenzia Gazeta

UPDATE — BAN OVERTURNED: Poland court approves far-right 'independence march' in Warsaw

The mayor of Warsaw has banned nationalist demonstrators from marching during planned independence day celebrations on Sunday.

"This is not how the celebrations should look on the 100th anniversary of regaining our independence," Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said on Wednesday. "Warsaw has suffered enough under aggressive nationalism."

Gronkiewicz-Waltz, a member of the center-right Civic Platform, said security concerns also informed her decision.

Disappointed nationalists

Polish nationalists and far-right organizers from the National Radical Camp (ONR) had expected between 100,000-250,000 participants for this year's "independence march."

Last year's event attracted some 60,000 participants, but demonstrators shouting racist insults and displaying anti-Muslim banners caused an international outcry.

Government defiant

Members of the far-right Law and Justice party (PiS) have vowed to organize another march led by President Andrzej Duda. PiS has been in office at the national level since 2015.

Sunday's festivities will mark Poland's 100th anniversary as an independent country. Its territory had been split between the German kingdom of Prussia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire prior to 1918.

amp/cmk (dpa, AP, AFP)

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