Poland: Over 200,000 March to Celebrate Polish Independence After Mayor's Ban Overturned

Chris Menahan
Nov. 12, 2018

Over 200,000 patriots marched in Warsaw on Sunday to celebrate Poland's independence, despite the outgoing feminist mayor trying to ban the event earlier this month to stop "aggressive nationalism."

From BBC:
Huge crowds have been celebrating the centenary of Poland's independence, amid controversy over a decision to include far-right groups.

Nationalists were among more than 200,000 people taking part in a march in the capital, Warsaw, which was led by President Andrzej Duda.
Opposition parties boycotted the event.

It comes as French President Emmanuel Macron urged world leaders marking the centenary of the World War One Armistice to reject nationalism.

Poland's National Independence Day commemorates the restoration of the country's sovereignty from the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian empires in 1918.
Most participants in Sunday's march in Warsaw were seen carrying Polish flags and wearing red-and-white armbands, but some were holding banners representing far-right parties from Poland and Italy.

Many of those attending the march brought red flares that filled the streets with smoke.
President Duda had said he wanted the march to be a proud and joyful celebration and warned that anyone carrying offensive banners or chanting the types of slogans heard at last year's event - such as "Pure Poland, white Poland" - would be dealt with by the police.
The feminist outgoing mayor tried to ban the march earlier this month to stop "aggressive nationalism" but it was overturned by the courts:
A Polish court has overturned a ban on a nationalist march in Warsaw to mark 100 years of Poland's independence.

"We're victorious," said the organisers of the annual event, which has become a magnet for the far right and has been marked by violence in recent years.

The ruling comes a day after Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz barred Sunday's rally, saying the city had suffered enough from "aggressive nationalism".

After the ban, President Andrzej Duda vowed to organise an official march.

"Everyone is invited, come only with red-and-white flags," he said, referring to the march that was expected to follow the same route as the nationalist rally - only starting one hour later.

The president warned that anyone carrying the kind of offensive banners seen last year would be dealt with by the police. An estimated 60,000 people took part in the 2017 march but far more are expected in Warsaw this Sunday to mark the centenary of independence.

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