Poland celebrates Independence Day
PR dla Zagranicy
11 November marks the 95th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence after over 120 years of being wiped off the map of Europe.
From left: President Bronislaw Komorowski accompanied by the Minister of National Defence Tomasz Siemoniak and commander of the Warsaw Garrison General Wieslaw Grudzinski lay flowers at the monument to Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, Monday morning: photo - PAP / Jacek Turczyk
On 11 November 1918, the same day as Germany signed the armistice ending the Great War, the Regency Government in Warsaw appointed Józef Pilsudski Commander-in-Chief over the Polish Forces and declared Poland an independent state from the occupying powers of Prussian, Russian and Austrian empires, which were collapsing under the weight of defeat to the victorious allies of US, UK and France.
Today, a national holiday, celebrations take place all over Poland, with a special mass in Warsaw in the morning attended by President Bronislaw Komorowski.
At noon, a wreath-laying ceremony, also attended by Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, took place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Pilsudski Square.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk (second right) takes part in an Independence Day fun run in Warsaw: photo - PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski
Then President Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and accompanying troops, many dressed in World War I-period uniforms, plus dignitaries, will lead a 'Together for Independence' march through the streets of the capital.
The Polish Armed Forces Band leads the 'Together for Independence' parade: photo - PAP/Grzegorz Jakubowski
Later in the afternoon, nationalists and right wing groups held an 'Independence March'. Organisers expected 50,000 to attend, and the demonstration was heavily policed after violence erupted for the last two years in Warsaw.
Over 20 police were injured in last year's clashes, with 21 charged with public order offences. (pg)