Warsaw mayor bans far-Right march celebrating 100th anniversary of Polish independence

The Independence March has been held annually since 2010

The mayor of Warsaw banned a march that radical Polish nationalists planned on the centennial of Polish independence, saying Wednesday she made the decision from security concerns and to curb "aggressive nationalism".

"The Independence March will take place anyway, regardless of what Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz claims", organiser Mateusz Marzoch told the Polish PAP news agency.

"History, both Polish history and specifically the history of Warsaw", were part of the reason why she blocked the event, the city's mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, told press on Wednesday.

"Poland's 100th anniversary of independence shouldn't look like this, hence my decision to forbid it", she said.

"We do not accept, we do not allow for those [far-right] groups gathering in Poland under any circumstances", Morawiecki said.

The Independence March association said the event will go ahead as planned on Sunday despite the ban.

Numerous protesters carried provocative banners and shouted slogans, such as "Pure blood, clear mind" and "Europe will be white or uninhabited".

Lawmakers in the European Parliament called the participants "fascists" - a label that infuriated the conservative Polish government, whose leaders said most people marched with the national flag and without the racist banners. Authorities have warned that the march may require additional security measures due to the potential for violence. Poland's second republic was established on 11 November 1918 at the end of World War One, after more than a century of rule by Prussia, the Austro-Hungarian empire and Russian Federation.

The government said the defence ministry had assumed responsibility for security at the march and extremist symbols would be banned, raising the prospect of confrontations between radical groups and military personnel on the streets of Warsaw.

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He invited all Poles to march with the national flags Sunday to show that "we are one white-and-red team", a reference to the national colors.

After the ban, President Andrzej Duda vowed to organise an official march. Some of the marchers were far-right agitators from other countries including the United Kingdom and Italy.

While many denied membership of or sympathy for extreme right groups, the event also drew representatives of far-right parties from Britain, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia.

Mass walk-outs by Polish police officers in recent days also raised concerns that clashes between participants and counter-protesters could get out of hand if there were not enough officers to intervene.

A worker cleans a statue depicting late Polish President Lech Kaczynski after it was installed at a central square in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday Nov. 7, 2018.

Kaczynski, who was killed in a 2010 plane crash in Russian Federation, was the identical twin of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the right-wing Law and Justice party now in power. The statue will be official unveiled on Saturday as part of the centennial observances marking 100 years of Polish independence.

More than 140 memorials to him already exist across the nation of 37 million people. Pro-government provincial authorities were in favor. At almost 7 meters (23 feet) it towers over a nearby monument of the national hero Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, the statesman who led Poland in regaining its independence a century ago.

This year, Poland is celebrating the centenary of its independence, gained in 1918 at the end of World War I.

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