Warsaw bans nationalist march marking 100 years of Polish independence
Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz on Wednesday banned a nationalist march planned on Sunday to mark the centenary of Polish independence, saying there is a risk of violence and expressions of hate.
However, the march was immediately revived by President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Gronkiewicz-Waltz, a member of the opposition Civic Platform party, told reporters that the city would have trouble securing the march. Last year’s independence day parade, which drew around 60,000 people, saw some nationalists and fascists chant antisemitic slogans and attack counterprotesters.
“Warsaw has suffered enough from aggressive nationalism,” Gronkiewicz-Waltz said. “I feel that Poland’s 100th anniversary of independence shouldn’t look like this, therefore my decision to ban it.”
One of the far-right groups behind the march said it would challenge the measure. “Even if the courts confirm [the mayor’s] decision, we will still meet,” said Tomasz Dorosz, leader of Poland’s National Radical Camp.
But that won’t have any impact, as Duda and Morawiecki’s initiative overrules any other marches planned for the same route, said presidential spokesman Błażej Spychalski.
“The government will take care of the organization of the march,” Spychalski said. “We invite all Poles to take part.”
Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she had no power to ban a parade being held by the president, but said his office would bear all responsibility for the event.