Riot police in Warsaw used rubber bullets on Nov. 11 to break up groups of masked far-right youths who threw fire-crackers and set fire to parked cars during a march marking Poland's Independence Day. It was the third year running that the annual thousands-strong nationalist march turned violent as extremists broke off to carry out attacks. As the throngs of marchers chanted "God, honor, fatherland!", the break-away militants this year singled out for attack two squatter buildings run by left-wing youth as community centers. A statement from the Syrena (Siren) and Przychodnia (Clinic) squatter collectives said: "They came well-prepared: hammers, bolt cutters and pipes in hand, they cut the lock on our gate, forced the doors, broke the windows, burned two cars and wounded our friends." The statement accused police of holding back and giving the attackers a free hand. The rioters also targeted Zbawiciela Square, Warsaw's bohemian district, where they set fire to an arch across the square, which residents had decorated in rainbow colors as a symbol of tolerance, diversity and esepcially gay rigts. The arch was a reduced to its charred skeleton.
The nationalist march is held each year on Poland's Independence Day, marking the country's re-emergence as an independent nation in 1918 after more than 200 years of it being divided amongst Russia, Austria-Hungary and Prussia (later Germany). But the march is organized by the right-wing opposition, and is separate from the official commemorations. (Tahrir-ICN, Nov. 15; InfoShop News, Nov. 12; EuroNews, BBC News, Nov. 11)
Please support our fund drive.