Clashes break out after thousands joined the banned Independence Day march to avoid LGBTQ and communist groups under coronavirus restrictions.
Polish nationalists and right-wing extremists have argued with police as thousands opposed a coronavirus pandemic-related ban to join a self-proclaimed “independence march” through the capital, Warsaw.
The riots on Wednesday broke out after attendees ignored police warnings to disperse to limit the risk of COVID-19 infection.
“Several officers were injured” after being attacked by “groups of hooligans,” police said on Twitter.
“The officers had to act decisively to clear a passage for ambulances and respirator vehicles that were being blocked by hooligans,” they said.
Police fired rubber bullets after demonstrators threw stones and crackers during the Independence Day march.
The participants of the march burn red torches at the Dmowski roundabout in Warsaw [Radek Pietruszka/EPA]November 11th is a national holiday in Poland on which Jozef Pilsudski took command of Polish troops in Warsaw and declared independence in 1918, which coincided with the armistice between Germany and France.
In recent years, there have been clashes with police officers and counter-demonstrators during Independence Day demonstrations, and demonstrators carried red torches and racist or Nazi symbols, which are banned in Poland.
Warsaw’s liberal mayor Rafal Trzaskowski had banned this year’s march because of the pandemic and the government urged people not to attend.
Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska said last week it was “a demonstration of patriotism” not to take part in the march.
“During # MarszNiepodłegłości2020, hooligans set an apartment on fire because there was a women’s strike poster and an LGBTI flag on the building.”
Every year tens of thousands of hooligans from all over Poland come together in Warsaw to “celebrate” Independence Day. pic.twitter.com/lYwNalYnq2
– Rémy Bonny @ (@RemyBonny) November 11, 2020
But the participants, many of whom were not wearing masks, waved Polish flags and sang: “God, honor and home!”
This year’s demonstration was organized under the motto “Our civilization, our rules”. The billboard featured a knight breaking a red and rainbow colored star, an obvious reference to communism and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) people. Community.
The march followed massive protests against abortion rights in recent weeks, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets to protest the efforts of the pro-government constitutional court to ban abortions, including those with fetal defects.