COVID-19 makes Polish far-right opt for car parade instead of march for Independence Day

COVID-19 makes Polish far-right opt for car parade instead of march for Independence Day
Last year's Independence Day celebrations.
By bne IntelliNews November 10, 2020

Polish far-right organisations plan a car parade in Warsaw to mark Independence Day on November 11 after the city’s liberal mayor banned the originally planned march due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The annual Independence March has gained notoriety in recent years in Poland after having become the flagship event of the Polish far-right groups. Every recent march featured far-right and fascist imagery as well as controversial sloganeering such as “Europe will be white or uninhabited” or “White Europe of Brotherly Nations”.

Despite Poland’s law banning fascist imagery or other references from public display, the march would typically go ahead uninterrupted with tens of thousands participating. Also in recent years, the incumbent government of the United Right, which has occasionally pandered to the far-right, has been reluctant to condemn the tone of the march.

While conceding the ban, the organisers of the march vowed they would challenge it legally, taking the case all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.

The liberal mayor of Warsaw Rafal Trzaskowski banned the march following a negative opinion about its safety issued by the Warsaw epidemiological service.

Poland is going through the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic with the daily number of new cases reaching 25,484 as of Tuesday morning; 330 people died. To date, there have been 593,592 coronavirus cases in the country of 38mn, including 8,375 deaths.

The government has said it will impose a “national quarantine” – in other words, a second lockdown – if the number of new cases reported daily reaches 30,000.