Poland: far-right march endorsed by PiS

Every year on 11 November tens of thousands of far-right sympathisers gather in Warsaw for their March of Independence to mark Poland's Independence Day, and each time the event has been a source of concern for commentators. Last year the ruling PiS party did not get involved, but this year it helped challenge a court ban on the event. The press is outraged.

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Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

The right's fear of the far right

What a farce, writes Der Tagesspiegel:

“Who is allowed to express their understanding of patriotism on Independence Day, where and how? Anti-fascists and nationalists, liberals and conservatives argued bitterly about this in court for weeks. In the end, the right-wing extremists marched anyway. After prolonged hesitation the national populist ruling party PiS has assumed a kind of patronage role for the March of Independence. At the same time, however, it wanted to prevent its voters from taking part. It steadfastly refused to recommend that they take part in a rally to which it had at the same time granted official status. That is also a farce, a bitter and nasty one. It reflects the right's fear of the far right.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Nationalists united against Germany

A cooperation is forming between the PiS and the nationalists, Gazeta Wyborcza writes:

“At the moment Kaczyński has to be more restrained because he's worried about EU funds. For tactical reasons he is refraining from openly attacking the Germans. But he has found a way to do this without his name being involved: by approving the activities of nationalists like Robert Bąkiewicz who do it for him. The PiS's anti-German alliance with the fascists was born on Thursday. Kaczyński not only transferred money to Bąkiewicz and not only officially endorsed the demonstration he organised - which focused more on attacking political opponents than on celebrating independence - but also become brothers in arms with Bąkiewicz in the fight against the German invaders.”

Onet.pl (PL) /

Emulate independence celebrations in France and the US

The online portal Onet wishes patriotism in Poland was a more lighthearted affair:

“Wonderful. Our big national independence day went off without brawls this year. ... Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. No windows were smashed, no one was injured. But the vast majority of Poles didn't take part in the celebrations. We still can't enjoy our freedom with the lightheartedness of the Americans or the French. There were no festivals or concerts. Officials made ritual speeches, laid wreaths presented to them by an assistant shortly beforehand, and citizens were focused on the first day of the long weekend.”