Poland – In the face of Warsaw liberal mayor Rafał Trzaskowski’s efforts to prevent the organization of the now traditional 11 November Independence March via various legal proceedings, the leader of the PiS parliamentary group and deputy chairman of the Sejm, Ryszard Terlecki, and PiS spokeswoman Anita Czerwińska announced on Tuesday that this year’s patriotic event would take on a more official character as a state-sponsored event.
“The march will happen”
“The march will not lose its unifying character. In a spirit of responsibility, the march will have a state character and it will be properly secured”,
Czerwińska explained, to which Terlecki added:
“The march will happen. Everyone will be able to take part.”
Significantly, this year the guiding theme of the march, usually organized by an association close to the National Movement (Ruch Narodowy, RN), is to be: “Independence is not for sale!”
“A disastrous decision”, according to the opposition
This decision, which is intended to prevent any kind of administrative ban on the event, has officially been made by the head of the Veterans’ Office, Jan Józef Kasprzyk, and it caused a number of opposition representatives to react fiercely, as was the case with MEP Robert Tyszkiewicz (PO) :
“One has to wonder if the Veterans’ Office accepts responsibility for all the incidents, slogans, and banners that appear every year at this march that is organized by nationalist circles.
(…) This is a disastrous decision (…) The Veterans’ Office is putting itself at the disposal of nationalist circles, who are known for their way of turning Independence Day into a riot.”
However, if we look back, the only years when the popular demonstration organized by the nationalists resulted in public order disturbances were when it was banned, such as last year due to the pandemic, or in the years before 2015, when the liberals’ governments were themselves accused of organizing provocations to discredit Europe’s biggest patriotic march.