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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Independence march: Smaller crowds anticipated at Poland’s nationalist rally | Politics Information


Warsaw, Poland – 1000’s are anticipated to hitch a nationalistic march in Poland’s capital Warsaw on Saturday, in what organisers describe because the “largest patriotic demonstration in Europe”.

In recent times, the annual Independence March has attracted as much as 250,000 individuals.

However this 12 months, consultants and individuals count on a decrease turnout, amid inner splits between leaders of the rally and after the Confederation Celebration, which is historically allied with the occasion, suffered a spectacular electoral defeat final month.

First organised in 2010 to commemorate Poland’s Independence Day, the march often attracts right-wing, conservative and neo-fascist teams from throughout Europe and the US.

It historically takes place in opposition to the backdrop of racist, xenophobic and anti-liberal chants.

Saturday’s march will start at 2pm native time.

“It appears that evidently the march might be a lot smaller and fewer seen,” Przemyslaw Witkowski, adjunct professor at Collegium Civitas and a researcher of political extremism, informed Al Jazeera. “There may be additionally a smaller quantity of people that signed up for the so-called March Guard – a bunch of volunteers working, defending, and controlling the occasion.”

However on the similar time, smaller numbers might see extra “radical” and violent forces at play, he stated.

“As soon as there’s a new, extra left-wing authorities in place, we are going to face a a lot higher rigidity, which we would be capable of really feel even this 12 months when the march nonetheless has a standing of an annual occasion,” Witkowski stated. “This choice could be reversed subsequent 12 months, and as soon as the march is confronted with registration points, we are able to absolutely count on extra violence.”

This 12 months’s slogan, “Poland has not but perished”, refers back to the opening lyrics of the nationwide anthem, that are then {followed} by “so long as we stay”.

The track, written in 1797 when Poland was off the world’s map, was meant to lift the morale of the Polish Legions combating alongside Napoleon in Italy. It conveyed the message that regardless of missing a state of its personal, the Polish nation had endured a wrestle for independence.

Poland’s state of affairs couldn’t be extra totally different from the one described within the track.

Nonetheless, many on the political proper imagine that the outcomes of the current parliamentary election, wherein the coalition of the liberal Civic Platform, conservative Third Means, and left-wing Lewica got here out as winners, will result in the gradual erosion of the nation’s independence.

Historically pro-European and advocating for stronger European integration, liberal political forces are considered with elevated suspicion by the proper together with the Confederation Celebration, which was broadly anticipated to attain between 12-14 p.c of the vote. It ended up with 8.6 p.c.

“We are able to count on – with a excessive chance – a change in EU treaties, which is able to have an effect on Poland’s sovereignty and Poland’s independence within the worldwide enviornment, and specifically throughout the [European Union],” Bartosz Malewski, head of the Independence March affiliation, informed reporters in October.

“This slogan additionally expresses our place on the necessity to emphasise sovereignty and the menace to sovereignty.”

Different march individuals agree.

Grzegorz Cwik, from the nationalist Niklot affiliation, informed Al Jazeera, stated he fears the “federalisation of the European Union, cuts of navy spending, and dismantling of social programmes”.

Up to now, the successful coalition has not constructed a authorities, however the current election outcomes aren’t the one challenges confronted by the march organisers.

The previous head of the Independence March affiliation, Robert Bakiewicz, over time moved nearer in direction of Regulation and Justice, the previous ruling nationalist occasion, and was broadly seen as utilizing the occasion for his personal political features.

Many march-goers additionally accused him of constructing the demonstration too mainstream and of combating in opposition to radical nationalists, who in reality are the occasion’s founders.

“I feel that for the previous few years, the march’s components was sadly extra picnic-like, and hooligans, for instance, stopped attending it,” Cwik stated.

Ultimately, a dispute between Bakiewicz and the march’s management near Confederation’s circles led to a public change of accusations and the elimination of Bakiewicz from his put up.

Bakiewicz was additionally accused of holding passwords to the Independence March’s social media accounts, successfully blocking the brand new management’s entry to well-followed fan pages.

It’s unlikely that he’ll present up on the march.

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