A march of nationalists passed through the capital. After 2.30 p.m. it left the Dmowski roundabout and ended around 5 p.m. on the grounds of the National Stadium. Some streets in the immediate vicinity of the march were closed to drivers and pedestrians. According to the city hall, “approximately 40,000 participants” took part in the event.
After 1 p.m., march participants began to gather near the Dmowski roundabout. Many of them had red and white armbands, others had cotillions pinned to their jackets. Some also wore wreaths and hats in national colors.
As tvnwarszawa.pl reporter Tomasz Zieliński reported, at the head of the march appeared a truck with European Union and rainbow flags attached to the back, which were pulled along the road.
In turn, as TVN24 reporter Jan Piotrowski described, the cross-section of participants was very different, from families with children to nationalist politicians and organizations. – We have already seen the first flags with extremely racist slogans. You can see Celtic crosses and green flags of the National Radical Camp – said Piotrowski on TVN24.
However, before the march left the roundabout, climate activists sat down on the road in front of it and were removed by the police.
At the Dmowskiego roundabout, march participants listened to speeches. – We heard from the stage next to the former Forum hotel that this was a march of Poles, patriots and nationalists – reported a TVN24 reporter. And he added: – We have heard many words about the fact that Poland’s independence is in danger and that, according to the organizers of this independence march, it will be necessary to defend it. A lot of anti-EU slogans appeared.
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Metal barriers were placed along the march route, and the procession was secured by significant police forces and the Independence March Guard. Aleje Jerozolimskie was fenced off with barriers. There were many police cars parked in the side streets.
Single firecracker shots were heard near the Dmowski roundabout.
As Tomasz Zieliński reported shortly after 3 p.m., an incident occurred near Krucza Street. – Nationalists snatched the LGBT flag from an activist who was standing next to the march route. The flag was trampled and then burned, he said.
After 3 p.m., the front of the demonstration crossed the Poniatowski Bridge. Here – as “Gazeta Wyborcza” reported – the march guards covered the view of the tenement house with a white cloth. three years ago, nationalists threw flares and caused a fire in one of the apartments.
Next, the participants went down the connector to Wał Miedzeszyński, from where, after a few hundred meters, they turned to the grounds of the National Stadium.
At around 5 p.m., most of the march participants arrived in front of the stadium, where the concert began. Most of the people participating in the march dispersed, some stayed to listen to the performances scheduled until 8 p.m.
Turnout at the nationalists’ march
– We estimate this march to have approximately 40,000 participants – said the mayor of the capital, Rafał Trzaskowski, in the evening.
Jan Piotrowski, who observed the event, also spoke about the turnout at the march. The TVN24 reporter estimated that the number of participants was similar to last year, but lower than in previous years. – I remember last year’s march, two years ago, I remember marches that were much more numerous years ago. These were demonstrations stretching from the National Stadium to the Dmowski Roundabout – Piotrowski said on TVN24. As he reported, this year’s march stretched approximately from the Poniatowski Bridge to the Dmowski Roundabout.
There were traffic disruptions
Aleje Jerozolimskie was closed to traffic from the Washington roundabout to the Czterdziestolatka roundabout. Buses going towards the center were directed to Daszyńskiego Square, and there were no trams. The Royal Route from ul. was closed to traffic. Książęca, de Gaulle roundabout, ul. Miodowa and pl. Krasiński family. Trams did not run along Marszałkowska and Andersa streets on the section of pl. Unia Lublinska – Międzyparkowa.
After the end of the march, both the Municipal Transport Authority and the Warsaw Police announced that traffic was being restored on the temporarily closed streets. “We are systematically restoring vehicular traffic. Marszałkowska Street and Al. Jerozolimskie are passable. By 7:00 p.m. traffic will be restored on the remaining streets. It is still safe,” the police wrote on social media at 6:30 p.m.
Rail traffic has also returned to its routes. “Tram traffic has been restored between Starynkiewicza Square and Rondo WAWA and in ul. Zieleniecka and al. WAWA, so all tram routes in Warsaw are now passable,” ZTM informed.
The demonstration, which has been taking place on the streets of Warsaw on the anniversary of Poland regaining independence, has been organized since 2011 by the Independence March association.
Police officers from all over the country took part in the security
As the spokesman for the Warsaw Police Headquarters, Sylwester Marczak, informed, November 11 is one of the greatest security measures for the Police Headquarters every year. – Police officers from all over the country take part in securing the Independence Day celebrations. Traditionally, for many years the Chief Commander of the Police has been supporting our forces by directing additional policemen from both the prevention units of individual garrisons, as well as police officers from road traffic departments. These are the areas that are most visible during our activities, he said.
Marczak noted that additional police officers appeared in many places in Warsaw – where the main state ceremonies take place, during large gatherings, such as the Independence March, as well as at railway stations, the subway and the airport. – We do everything to make it safe. These additional forces are important for these large security measures, he added.
Main photo source: Leszek Szymański/PAP