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Reactions abroad to Polish Independence Day march ‘exaggerated’: FM

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 16.11.2017 08:30
Incidents reported during a recent Independence Day march in Poland were “reprehensible,” but some reports and reactions abroad were “extremely exaggerated and unjustified,” the Polish foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

These reports and reactions by some foreign media and politicians may well have been a result of "manipulation" and "false information," Witold Waszczykowski said, referring to a spate of criticism abroad after Saturday’s march.

On Tuesday, a high-ranking Polish senator slammed a tweet by a former adviser to Hillary Clinton that denounced the Independence Day event in Warsaw as a "Nazi" march.

Jesse Lehrich, a former foreign policy spokesman for Hillary Clinton, wrote on Twitter that “60,000 Nazis marched on Warsaw” on November 11, Poland’s Independence Day.

"This is a brazen lie," Stanisław Karczewski, the Speaker of the upper house of Poland’s parliament, said on Tuesday morning.

'Fake news rather than facts'

"I think the reaction of some media and politicians around the world was exaggerated -- based on fake news rather than facts,” Waszczykowski said on Wednesday.

Some media outlets could have been "manipulated by false information," he added.

Waszczykowski also said that there were some "incidents, slogans and banners” during the march “which should not have taken place.”

While these incidents were reprehensible, large public events are known to attract people who might be tempted to seek to use such gatherings for their own purposes different from those intended by organisers, he suggested.

'Valuable event'

Waszczykowski argued that the Warsaw Independence Day march was "a valuable event” that testified to "the patriotic behaviour of the Polish people, their love of history and their country.”

Asked if the National Radical Camp (ONR) group, which co-organised the march, should be outlawed, as the opposition is demanding, Waszczykowski said the decision on the matter belonged to the courts.

"I don’t make decisions on who has the right to operate in Poland," he said.

The Independence Day march had an umbrella slogan of “We Want God,” a line from a religious song.

Some 60,000 people took part in the march, according to police figures. Participants waved Polish flags, some of them with various patriotic symbols on them, as well as other flags and banners, one including the slogan “Death to enemies of the fatherland.”

Other banners brandished slogans such as “Europe will be white or uninhabited” and “A white Europe of fraternal nations.”

Key political figures, including President Andrzej Duda and the leader of the country's ruling conservatives, have distanced themselves from the reported incidents.

Duda said on Monday that “there is no room … in our country for xenophobia, for pathological nationalism, for anti-Semitism.”

The head of Poland’s goverrning conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, said his group referred to traditions that “have nothing to do with anti-Semitism or racism.”

When asked about the march in a media interview, Kaczyński said that "there were some extremely unfortunate" and "completely unacceptable" incidents during the event, but added that these occurrences were the "fringe of the fringe" and that they were “very likely a provocation.”


Source: IAR

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