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Polish university battles hypocrisy claims over nationalist gathering

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 18.04.2016 21:43
The Białystok University of Technology has been compelled to make a statement after it emerged it had let Polish nationalists celebrate on its campus while simultaneously warning foreign students to stay indoors as 'racists' were at large in the city.
Part of the Białystok University of Technology. Photo: PAP/wikimedia commonsPart of the Białystok University of Technology. Photo: PAP/wikimedia commons

Rector of the university Professor Lech Dzienis admitted on Monday evening that he had known that the so-called National Radical Camp (ONR) had rented a nightclub on the campus for a concert on Saturday night.

ONR had chosen the city in north eastern Poland as the destination for a march marking 82 years since the foundation of the group.

However, Professor Dzienis has claimed that the identities of the concert organisers were not revealed until the day before the concert, and that it had been initially believed that the event was a normal 'birthday' party.

As a result of this situation I was faced with a very difficult choice,” the rector said.

Cancelling the day before the event planned by the ONR community could have led to a direct threat to the health and safety of our foreign and Polish students,” he continued.

Therefore, in consultation with the police, we decided not to cancel the concert, but to focus on strengthening the protection of our campus by working closely in this regard with the services responsible for law and order and informing foreign students about the planned events.

The rector has revealed that he has accepted the resignation from the head of the Foundation for the Development of Białystok University of Technology, which leases the club in question from the university.

I want to stress emphatically that the slogans and ideals preached by these [far-right] circles are completely alien to our academic community,” the rector said.

On Friday night, foreign students at the university had received a notification in English warning them to stay indoors on Saturday as a group that declares ideas of racism” was leading a march in the city that day.

The concert on Saturday night at the so-called Klub Gwint was performed by Polish rock band Nordica, a group which appears to have played songs with titles including 'Biały honor, biała duma' ('White honour, white pride).

Update: Episcopate issues apology after cathedral incident

Meanwhile, the Polish Episcopate published an apology on Tuesday after photographs emerged of ONR members brandishing the organisation's flags in the city's cathedral.

ONR members attended a mass in the cathedral on Saturday, led by Father Jacek Międlar, a priest known for taking part in anti-refugee protests.

The Curia in Białystok claimed in a letter that the incident resulted from administrative negligence at the parish."

Prior to the mass, ONR members reportedly chanted: "Zionists will hang from the trees instead of leaves." (nh/pk)

Source: PAP

tags: bialystok, ONR
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