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Nationalist march turns violent on Independence Day

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 11.11.2013 18:57
Poland's foreign ministry has apologised after the Russian Embassy in Warsaw was attacked during a nationalist Independence Day march on Monday.

Debris litters the ground and a policeman stands guard aftyer the nationalist march passed through a street in Warsaw: photo - PAP/Paweł Supernak

A police guard's cabin outside the Russian Embassy was set on fire and the grounds of the building pelted with stones and firecrackers, as some demonstrators tried to scale the fence, during the march by supporters of far-right groups All-Polish Youth and National Radical Camp (ONR).

"There is no excuse for hooliganism and a violation of the Vienna Convention," said foreign ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski.

Tens of thousands attended the nationalist 'March for Independence', which began after the official 'Together in Independence' parade, led by President Bronislaw Komorowski had finished.

Police made up to a dozen arrests at the beginning of the nationalist march after flares, bottles and stones were thrown at officers, which were part of a huge security operation following violence at Independence Day marches in previous years.

Police and demonstrators clash on the corner of Puławska and Rakowiecka streets: photo - PAP/Pawel Supernak

Artist Julita Wójcik’s 'Rainbow' installation on plac Zbawiciela - widely associated with tolerance towards homosexuals - was set on fire after recently being restored, following previous arson attacks.

Fire fighters were pelted with stones and bottles as they tried to put out the blaze.

"We are dealing with a group of several hundred people who are intent on breaking the law," said police spokesman Mariusz Sokołowski.

Nationalists set off flares during 'March for Independence': photo - PAP/Paweł Supernak

At around 5 pm, police announced to the demonstrators over loudspeakers that the march was dissolved and must disband, due to public disorder and on safety grounds.

ONR spokesman Artur Zawisza said the marchers had every right to demonstrate and that violent incidents at the fringe of the demonstration should not lead to the march being banned.

"No piece of paper from Town Hall [banning the march] will stop us marching towards independence," he told Polish Radio.

Police report that five of their officers were injured during clashes with demonstrators. (pg)

source: PAP/IAR

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