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200,000 march on Poland's Independence Day: minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 11.11.2018 17:57
Some 200,000 people took part in an Independence Day march in the Polish capital on Sunday, the minister for the interior said as Poland marked 100 years since returning to the map of Europe.
People march in celebration of Poland's 100th year of independence. Photo: PAP/Paweł SupernakPeople march in celebration of Poland's 100th year of independence. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

Among marchers were President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the leader of the ruling conservative Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński.

A speech from Duda and the singing of the National Anthem inaugurated the march, which made its way from Warsaw's city centre to the National Stadium.

Duda said: "I want us to walk under our white-and-red banners together and in an air of joy … honour to those who fought for Poland … and to be glad that it is free, sovereign and independent".

The march was led by a military parade, including vehicles, an orchestra, and soldiers carrying 100 white-and-red flags.

Kaczyński said the march was "a great success."

According to the PAP news agency, the march was made up of two gatherings, with an official celebration organised by the government followed by another organised by the Independence March Association.

Some participants in the second gathering carried flares and flags bearing nationalist symbols.

The association declared its march as "the biggest patriotic nationalistic display in Europe".

Earlier on Sunday, a monument to independence activist Ignacy Daszyński, crafted by Kraków fine arts professor Jacek Kucaba, was unveiled in Warsaw.

Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński said Daszyński, who briefly served as Polish prime minister in the interwar period, shortly after Poland regained independence, had been a uniting force. Duda said Daszyński put the common good ahead of his own political ambitions.

Daszyński is considered one of the fathers of Polish independence and his monument is located close to those of others who played important roles in Poland's efforts to regain statehood, including Józef Piłsudski, Wincenty Witos and Roman Dmowski.

President Duda on Sunday also inaugurated the reconstruction of the Saxon Palace, a 17th-century building which served as a royal residence in the 18th century before it was used for military and educational purposes. Most of the building was destroyed in 1944. All that remains are the arcades that have housed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 1925.

Duda said the building would be rebuilt to serve as a "permanent monument to independence, a symbol of the continuity of the state, and of people's connection to their culture and heritage". (vb)

Source: IAR

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