Logo Polskiego Radia

Poland 'deeply regrets' attack on Russian embassy

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 14.11.2013 09:22
As Poland apologises to Russia for "deplorable excesses" during an Independence Day march on Monday, the government is considering new laws banning balaclavas during demonstrations.

Several participants of the 'March for Independence' far-right demonstration on Monday wore balaclavas, scarves and other headwear covering their faces: photo - PAP Tomasz Gzell

Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski has issued a statement saying "on Wednesday, 13 November, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland presented to Mr Alexander Alekseev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Warsaw, a diplomatic note expressing deep regret over the deplorable excesses that had taken place on 11 November near the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Warsaw."

The apology comes after far-right demonstrators burnt a security guard cabin at the gate to the rear of Russia's embassy in Warsaw and pelted the grounds with firecrackers and stones during a 'March for Independence', following official celebrations to mark Poland's Independence day on Monday.

Over 70 were arrested during the march with around a dozen police officers injured.

A 'Rainbow' art installation in the centre of Warsaw, associated with tolerance towards gays, was also burnt and police came under attack during the nationalist march attended by tens of thousands of supporters of the All-Polish Youth and ONR far-right groups.

The Russian foreign ministry complained that not enough police officers were placed in front of the embassy, though Poland's interior ministry has said that officers did not want to be provocative towards the nationalist demonstrators.

"Last year the police were accused of being provocative. This year we wanted to reduce the tension," Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz told the TVN24 news channel.

"It turned out that this tactic was ineffective. Nothing can stop a determined bunch of thugs from causing trouble," he added.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said that the behaviour at the demonstration - which came after violence at two previous Independence Day marches - was "totally unacceptable" and that those responsible for the violence "will bear responsibility".

On Wednesday, flares were thrown into the Polish embassy grounds in Moscow in what appeared to be a tit-for-tat reaction to events in Warsaw on 11 November.

A spokesperson for Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski muted the idea on Wednesday of banning balaclavas and other face coverings during marches in the future.

"Organisers of events would be able to submit an application to the local authority whereby the face could be covered in certain circumstances," Joanna Trzaska-Wieczorek, head of the president's Press Office said.

Similar attempts to ban balaclavas and other clothing covering the face at political demonstrations has met with opposition from Poland's constitutional court. (pg)

Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us