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Warsaw mayor bans far-right independence march

November 7, 2018 2:43 PM
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WARSAW, POLAND—The mayor of Warsaw banned a march that radical Polish nationalists planned to hold to coincide with the centennial of Polish independence, saying Wednesday she made the decision to curb “aggressive nationalism.”

Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she wanted to put a stop to extremist displays that have appeared during the past decade at far-right events on Poland’s Nov. 11 Independence Day holiday.

At a march in Warsaw last year, some nationalists carried banners calling for a “White Europe” and white supremacist symbols like the Celtic Cross.

The event brought international criticism, and lawmakers in the European Parliament called the participants “fascists” — a label that infuriated the Polish government.

This year, Poland is celebrating the centenary of its independence, gained in 1918 at the end of World War I.

“This is not how the celebrations should look on the 100th anniversary of regaining our independence,” Gronkiewicz-Waltz said at a news conference she called to announce the decision.

A similar ban was announced Tuesday by the mayor of the western Polish city of Wroclaw. It is not clear if authorities will be able to enforce the prohibitions, which are subject to appeal.

The bans followed signals that radical far-right groups planned to travel to Poland for Sunday’s march in the capital. Mass walkouts by police officers in recent days also raised concerns that clashes between participants and counterprotesters could get out of hand without officers intervening.


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