WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The mayor of Warsaw on Wednesday banned radical Polish nationalists from marching on the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence due to security concerns. The move prompted Polish leaders to quickly draw up plans for an inclusive march Sunday that could be embraced by all citizens.
It was a significant about-face for the populist government, which has been trying not to alienate far-right voters but then faced the strong possibility that the main news from Poland on its centennial would have been about extremists or even violence. It seemed the Warsaw mayor, normally a political rival from the opposition centrist Civic Platform, offered them a way out of their predicament.
Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she wanted to put a stop to the extremist displays that have appeared yearly on Poland’s Nov. 11 Independence Day holiday at far-right marches that have drawn tens of thousands to the capital.
At last year’s march, some marchers carried racist and anti-Islamic banners calling for a “White Europe”, displayed white supremacist symbols.