Court lifts ban on nationalist march imposed by the mayor of Warsaw
The District Court in Warsaw has lifted the decision by the Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz banning the nationalist march scheduled for the Independence Day on 11th of November.
Organisers said they would defy the ban. They lodged a court appeal against the decision to shut down the annual November 11 event commemorating the anniversary of Poland's independence at the end of World War One.
The District Court in Warsaw affirmed the appeal and thereby lifted the ban imposed by the Mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Identical decision was taken earlier on Thursday in regard to an appeal against a nationalist march planned for 11th of November in Wrocław.
In the substantiation, the court underscored the xenophobic slogans that were voiced during 2017 Independence March, as well as any incidents that occured last year are not sufficient basis for banning this year's march; it is the role of services to exclude such people from the assembly.
Attorney representing the mayor of Warsaw Antoni Kania-Sieniawski has said that the city hall will appeal against the decision lifting the ban on Independence March on 11 November. "We have 24 hours to submit a complaint," he added.
Tens of thousands of participants had been expected to attend, including far-right activists from elsewhere in Europe, with organisers claiming the event could be the biggest such march in Europe in years.
Last year's event caught the attention of the world's media because some of the 60,000 participants carried banners bearing racist and xenophobic slogans such as "pure blood, clear mind" and "Europe will be white or uninhabited".
"Warsaw has already suffered enough due to aggressive nationalism," Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, a centrist opposition politician, said. "Poland's 100th anniversary of independence shouldn't look like this, hence my decision to forbid it."
The eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party government said it would organise its own march instead, under the auspices of President Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally.
Officials did not clarify whether far-right groups would be allowed to attend. Duda had earlier decided to stay away from the event.
"We don't understand the decision of Mayor Gronkiewicz-Waltz ... Even if the courts confirm her decision, we will still meet ... The march will take place," said Tomasz Dorosz, the leader of Poland's National Radical Camp, one of the groups involved in organising the march.
Earlier this week Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she would consider banning the march "if there was any element of hatred", according to local Polish broadcaster TVN24.