Warsaw mayor bans independence march, gov’t plans new rally
PR dla Zagranicy
Warsaw’s mayor on Wednesday banned an Independence March planned in the Polish capital for November 11, a decision quickly slammed by critics as “arrogant” and “shameful.”
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Photo: Platforma Obywatelska
The march, organised by nationalist groups, was due to take place on Sunday, in the culmination of events marking the centenary of Poland recovering its independence.
PM, president agree new plan
Following the mayor’s ban, Polish President Andrzej Duda held talks with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and they decided that a different, official march organised by the government would take place on Independence Day, a spokesman for the head of state said.
Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz cited security concerns as a key reason for her decision to ban the originally planned march.
But its organisers declared that the mass rally might take place anyway and vowed they would launch a legal appeal against the ban.
Gronkiewicz-Waltz, who hails from the opposition Civic Platform party, which is bitterly at odds with Poland’s ruling conservatives, said: “Warsaw has suffered enough through aggressive nationalism."
Last year’s Independence Day march in Warsaw prompted a spate of criticism abroad.
Some 60,000 people took part in the event, according to police figures. Participants waved Polish flags as well as other flags and banners, one proclaiming: “A white Europe of fraternal nations.”
Incidents reported during last year’s march were “reprehensible,” but some reports and reactions abroad were “extremely exaggerated and unjustified,” Poland’s foreign minister at the time said.
"I think the reaction of some media and politicians around the world was exaggerated -- based on fake news rather than facts,” Witold Waszczykowski said after last year’s event.
Waszczykowski argued that the Warsaw Independence Day march was "a valuable event” that testified to "the patriotic behaviour of the Polish people, their love of history and their country.”