photo - PAP
“Germans […] beat up Poles on Independence Day in the middle of Warsaw, just because they wore some [national] symbols,” Kaczynski said at a press conference on Monday.
Some 92 Germans were arrested as left-wing and anarchist groups challenged a march organized by two Polish nationalist groups; the All Polish Youth (MW) and the National Radical Camp (ONR).
The Germans were arrested en mass after scuffles broke out with nationalists and police before the marches began on Friday afternoon.
Noting that the counter-demonstrations had been planned on the internet and widely reported, Kaczynski said that “everything was clear” in advance of the march.
The Law and Justice party has said that the left-wing counter-demonstration should never have been given permission to go ahead once it was clear that anarchists, from Poland and Germany, were intent on causing trouble.
The ensuing problems were “typical of the government of Donald Tusk,” Kaczynski said.
Although the detained Germans are recorded on film hiding their identities behind masks, Martin Schmidt, a spokesman for the group, claimed that the short poles that some were seen carrying were for flying flags – not for beating people - and that they were already under arrest by the time that the riots began at around 3 pm.
Schmidt also claimed to the Gazeta Wyborcza daily that the arrested Germans were mistreated by Polish police, and were not allowed to eat for 32 hours.
However, Maciej Karzynski, a spokesman for the Police HQ in Warsaw refuted charges of mistreatment, saying that the Germans' period in detention was observed by representatives of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, as well as Poland's Office for Human Rights.
The day after the riots, Prime Minister Tusk held a meeting in which he called for changes in the law, thus forbidding participants in demonstrations from masking their faces.
Tusk stressed that the investigation should be handled without “hysteria”, and he claimed that the police displayed “a very high level of competence.”
Former Prime Minister and leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) in parliament told Polish Radio this morning that instead of concentrating on the German ‘anarchists’, fighting Poles, we should be asking ourselves: “Why were Poles beating Poles,” on Friday?
Miller put the violence down to a disillusionment among young people and “a feeling of impunity” that they will not be punished. (nh/pg)