Warsaw: Thousands Join Nationalist Independence Day March

Tens of thousands of people in Poland, including families with children, marched on Friday through Warsaw's city center under the slogan "Strong Nation, Great Poland" to mark the 104th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence.

Warsaw: Thousands Join Nationalist Independence Day March
Image credit: PAP [via TVP World]

Facts

  • Tens of thousands of people in Poland, including families with children, marched on Friday through Warsaw's city center under the slogan "Strong Nation, Great Poland" to mark the 104th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence.
  • Robert Bąkiewicz, the primary organizer of the event, stated that it gathered nearly 100K people, with Warsaw city hall not providing an estimate but claiming there were "fewer people than in previous years" when attendance sometimes exceeded 100K.
  • While many people carried the nation's red-and-white flag to show patriotism and yelled angry slogans directed at Russian Pres. Putin, some expressed their opposition toward the EU, Ukraine, and the LGBTQ+ community.
  • A large number of police officers were deployed to keep a group of counter-protesters separated from the march participants, successfully preventing the violence of past years from marring the event.
  • The annual march has sparked disagreement between Polish nationalists, including the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), and their liberal opponents as critics at home and abroad have accused the event of promoting homophobia.
  • The Warsaw city hall has made several attempts to outlaw the event in the past, but the Independence March organization has successfully challenged court decisions.

Sources: TVP World, Notes from Poland, ABC, Time, and Reuters.

Narratives

  • Right narrative, as provided by TVP World. This march is a popular procession organized bottom-up to celebrate the creation of an independent Polish state in the aftermath of World War I. The Independence March has been a major act of national belonging for the entire Polish nation regardless of individual identities.
  • Left narrative, as provided by Notes from Poland. This march is the product of three fascist, far-right groups, and the Polish national-conservative government has supported it by barring any attempts to outlaw it. Worse than that, the march organizers have always blamed provocateurs when their own participants cause violence — including once setting an apartment on fire for displaying an LGBTQ+ flag.

Predictions