Poland’s far-right vows to march despite court ban

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s far-right group leader vowed Friday to hold a new form of Independence March Nov. 11 after the Warsaw Appeals Court rejected the group’s complaint against a ban on their annual event that recently featured radical slogans and violence.

The leader of the nationalist Independence March organization, Robert Bakiewicz, said the march will go ahead in downtown Warsaw but in a smaller form, as required by pandemic restrictions. He invited supporters to stroll along.

Originally a popular, massive event marking Poland’s regaining sovereignty on Nov. 11, 1918, after World War I, the annual march has attracted far-right groups in recent years under Poland’s right-wing government.

Last year, the march was held despite a ban by the Warsaw mayor, and resulted in an apartment and a bookstore being set on fire and a number of people and police being injured in clashes.

On Wednesday, Warsaw’s District Court banned this year’s march, backing a decision by Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and stressing that the organizers broke the ban last year. An appeal by the nationalist organizers was definitively rejected Friday.

In recent years, nationalists from other countries also traveled to Warsaw to take part. Organizers of the march have received funding and other support from the right-wing Polish government, which has generally shown acceptance toward far-right groups since it took power in 2015.

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