Rioters clash in Polish capital
Protesters take part in an annual march through central Warsaw city to mark the 95th anniversary of Poland's Independence Day in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Many far-right protesters gather at the annual event.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Photo by AP
WARSAW — Polish police used rubber bullets on Monday to break up groups of masked far-right youths who threw firecrackers and set fire to cars when a nationalist march through the center of the capital turned violent.
The march is an annual event to commemorate Poland's national independence day, and for the third consecutive year, it broke down into running battles in the middle of Warsaw between rioters and riot police.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said what should have been a holiday had been ruined by acts of aggression and violence. “What happened is unacceptable,” he said.
Several thousand right-wing protesters began their march peacefully — watched by their own stewards in orange vests and with a police helicopter circling above.
The violence started when a few dozen youths, their faces covered by balaclavas and scarves, broke off from the procession into a side street and started attacking a building where left-wing radicals occupied a squat.
Riot police moved in and were attacked by youths throwing firecrackers and stones. As rioters dispersed, cars were set on fire.
The violence underscores the faultlines in Polish society. Many Poles have grown wealthier in the past few years, but a minority feel alienated and believe traditional values on marriage, abortion and the church have been swept aside.
Their growing profile in Poland mirrors the rise of the far-right elsewhere in Europe. The pain of the economic slowdown around the continent, coupled with local factors, has boosted support for nationalists and anti-immigrant groups in countries from Greece to Hungary and France.
In Poland, nongovernmental watchdogs say incidents of racially motivated violence are increasing.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.