A far-right march took place on Poland’s Independence Day despite a court ban, organizers said.
The national holiday of November 11 commemorates the day Poland gained independence after World War I, but in recent years rallies have drawn nationalist groups, violence and anti-Semitism.
Last year’s march – which took place despite a pandemic ban on public gatherings – saw police use tear gas and rubber bullets in clashes with far-right supporters.
Last month, the Warsaw District Court upheld the ban on the rally and ruled in favor of the city’s liberal mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski.
Trzaskowski declared that Warsaw is “not a place to propagate slogans which have all the characteristics of fascist slogans”.
But Konstanty Radziwill, the region’s conservative governor, had previously approved the 2021 Independence Day march.
Organizers of the rally vowed to appeal the decision and insisted the march would go as planned.
Polish security forces were mobilized in the capital and other cities in preparation for the rallies.
Polish troops have also been stationed on the country’s eastern border with Belarus amid a tense migratory standoff.
Poland has opposed since the summer the growing number of refugees and migrants trying to enter the country from Belarus.
The European Union has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging illegal migration to destabilize the bloc.
Bartosz Grodecki, deputy interior minister, said a large number of police in Warsaw to guard the march will be deployed to the border immediately after.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has generally shown its acceptance of far-right groups since taking office in 2015, offering funds to two groups led by the Independence March Association.
“The PiS has … taken responsibility for everything that happens during the march, every fight, every arson”, the left-wing opposition group said on twitter Thursday.