Appeals court rejects prosecutor general's plea for nationalist march

A Warsaw appeals court rejected a request by Poland's prosecutor general to suspend the execution of an earlier court decision to ban a nationalist march in Warsaw.

Zbigniew Ziobro, the country's prosecutor general and also the justice minister, argued that the ban on the Independence March, to be held on Poland's November 11 Independence Day, "has restricted the constitutional freedom of assembly."

But on Monday the Court of Appeal in Warsaw told PAP that Ziobro's motion has been dismissed.

Ziobro described the court's decision as "purely political" and suggested the march organisers could borrow the concept of civil disobedience from opposition party Civic Platform.

He added that the ruling that the Independence March was not a cyclical event as it was not held during the coronavirus pandemic was hypocritical. "They are (arguments) of a political nature, rather than legal," Ziobro said.

The justice minister went on to say that all lawyers learn at college that in law "objective and independent" circumstances must be taken into account. He said the ruling showed that "the politicised state of the Polish judiciary has crossed a certain line that can be seen as acceptable."

Two courts have already banned this year's Independence March, which would have normally put an end to the dispute.

But in a separate development on Friday the prosecutor general decided to bring an extraordinary appeal before the Supreme Court, requesting the decision prohibiting the registration of the Independence March as a cyclical assembly to be revoked.

In 2020, the Warsaw mayor banned the march due to epidemic reasons and his decision was upheld by two court decisions. However, nationalists ignored the rulings and organised the event anyway, which was once again blighted by far-right violence, and became a high-profile spectacle for ultra-nationalist groups in Poland.

Robert Bąkiewicz, an Independence March organiser, has already said the march will take place regardless of court decisions.