Far-right protests go ahead on Poland’s Independence Day 

Despite a court ban, a far-right march organized on Poland’s Independence Day has gone ahead today. The national holiday falls on November 11th and commemorates the day Poland gained its independence after World War 1. 

However, in recent years, the day has attracted attention from far-right groups, particularly from nationalist groups involved in anti-Semitism. Some of the rallies have also ended in violence. 

The ruling party in Poland, Law and Justice (PiS) party, has shown acceptance of far-right groups since it gained power in 2015. It also offered funds to two of the groups led by the Independence March Association.

Last month, the Warsaw District Court ruled in favor of a ban on the rally after it was requested by the city’s liberal mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, who says that the city is “no place to propagate slogans that have all the hallmarks of fascist slogans”.

This followed fears of clashes after last year’s march took palace despite the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic. It ended with the city’s police force using tear gas and rubber bullets when the clashes with far-right supporters escalated. 

The conservative governor of the region, Konstanty Radziwil, had previously approved the scheduled 2021 Independence Day march. And, despite the court ruling to ban it, organizers have insisted it will go ahead as planned and they intend to appeal the ruling. 

Polish security forces are on standby in the capital, Warsaw, as well as in other Polish cities in preparation for the rallies.

In addition to this, military forces have been stationed on the eastern Belarus border amid the current migration standoff, which is due to objections over the rising number of refugees and migrants crossing the border. 

Deputy interior minister, Bartosz Grodecki, also stated that, once the march is over, the security officers in Warsaw and elsewhere will be sent directly to the border for further assistance.

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