Far-right march on Independence Day in Warsaw
More than 250,000 people took part in a march marking the 100th anniversary of Polish independence on Sunday. In addition to representatives of the ruling party PiS, far-right groups from all over Europe also attended. Warsaw's mayor had made an unsuccessful attempt to ban the march. How close are the ties between the PiS and extremist nationalists?
Government is part of the far right
Poland's government has been duped by the far right, Newsweek Polska rails:
“We have the ruling PiS party to thank for the images going around the world now. It's no good saying that these were just isolated incidents and provocations. The government knew who it was working with when it allowed the nationalists to help organise the march. It should have known they would march together with the biggest fascists, enemies of the EU, and racists - after all, they've all been coming to the independence march for years. Since Sunday there is strong visual evidence for the narrative that the PiS belongs to the far right.”
What the PiS should do now
It would still be possible for the PiS to distance itself from the extremist nationalists, counters Artur Bartkiewicz, editor of Rzeczpospolita:
“I'm glad that the prime minister said on the day before the Independence Day ceremonies that staying in the EU was a fixed component of Poland's foreign policy. I would be even happier if he said when he thanks the Poles on Monday or Tuesday for their large turnout for the march: those who burned EU flags or invited Italian neo-fascists have inflicted damage on Poland. And if he explains that we had to fight the communists when they really posed a threat to us but not today when they're all in North Korea or Cuba. Today the threats are of an entirely different nature. To face them we need wisdom, not red torches.”