PM warns zero tolerance for racism on Independence march
The prime minister has pledged the authorities will “eliminate” any signs of extremism on an official march on Sunday in Warsaw to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Polish independence.
Talking to a meeting of foreign journalists on Thursday, PM Morawiecki said: “We will try to eliminate all banners that are extremist as quickly as possible.”
He added: “I suppose we will have to take them off them. The march should be red and white and peaceful.
“There are some groups such as neo-Nazis who we do not want on the march.
“We reject this ideology. If there are signs such as swastikas, we will not allow them.
“There is a clear red line between patriotic behaviour and nationalistic behaviour.”
On Tuesday the government announced that it would organise a “red and white” march, and that it would not tolerate any political extremism.
But the march, organised by the defence ministry, could now clash with an unofficial one, in part organised by far-right groups, which will now take place after its organisers had a ban imposed by Warsaw’s mayor overturned in court.
This has led to confusion with both sides vowing to push ahead with their plans to march, and raising the possibility, once again, that the non-state one could become a vehicle for the far-right.
The state march, which, according to officials, takes precedence over other gatherings, will be led by military bands and vehicles, and the president.
Reacting to the news that a court had overturned the ban on the unofficial march because it infringed on the rights of assembly, Michał Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office, said that he hoped “we will be able to march together,” a clear indication that the government wants the organisers of the private march to merge the two processions.
He also reiterated Morawiecki’s vow to take action if any fascist or racist banners appear.
But so far the organisers of the unofficial march appear eager to press ahead with their own plans following their successful appeal in court.
“We are happy although we expected the court’s decision,” said Witold Tumanowicz, one of the organisers.
“It is a shame that the president and the prime minister did not wait until the court had made its decision before announcing their march.
“However, I can assure you that our march will take place regardless.”