Conservative Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski was in his turbo-hyperbole mood following the Independence Day riots in Warsaw last Friday, when he managed to get “Germans … Adolf Hitler … beating … in Warsaw” into a single sentence.
“Some Germans have the psychological disposition of the militia with which Adolf Hitler came to power, who beat Poles in the middle of Warsaw for wearing [national] symbols,” Kaczynski said after 92 German 'anarchists' were arrested in Warsaw for getting into a battle with nationalists and police – and roughing up, reportedly, soldiers on a historical parade on Nowy Swiat street.
The now tired, old German WW II bit aside, I don't really blame anyone for being disgusted with the guys in the video above. They vowed to turn up last week to oppose a far-right demo that was going to begin at 3 pm that day. Their aim was to join up with Polish left wing protesters who had promised to stop the far-right marching through Warsaw.
A message, if I may, to idiot-anarchists everywhere who want to come to Warsaw for a bit of far-right bashing: wearing hoods and identical, oh-so-scary black gear does not make you anonymous and safe from the cops – it makes you look like … idiot-anarchists, and you are going to get arrested looking like that. Maybe next time come dressed up as postmen, or ice cream vendors, or something.
In the event they never were going to get to where the march was starting, because they just couldn't behave themselves, the naughty little scamps.
The media before the demo was reporting that German anarchists were recommending comrades to “bring a Molotov cocktail”. The first sign of trouble and the police were always going to jump on them. A prophesy was to become self-fulfilling.
As you can see in the video, the anarcho-imbeciles were not in Warsaw to pay a visit to the new Copernicus Science Centre, or a little light shopping. Dressed in black, with faces covered, they look more like a bank robber’s convention on a Central European away-day.
Kaczynski has said that if Law and Justice was in power then these people would never have got into Poland in the first place and would have been turned back at the border.
It's made the ruling Civic Platform look a little silly.
On a Richter scale of riots, Friday's was not a big one – in fact it was 2.5 intensity-level rioting, if you compare it to what was going on in England – including my home town of Croydon - over the summer.
But it was quite big for Poland. The German anarchists, however, were all tucked up in police detention before it all went off, on schedule at 3 pm. The worst of the rioting was done by Poles … burning of media OBU vans, smashing shop windows, fighting each other and the cops.
Far-right All-Polish Youth et al claim they were “infiltrated” by “men in masks”, who began attacking police and anyone else within range.
Left wing protesters say they were attempting to block the route of the far-right march to the statue of the patron saint of inter-war (and rather nasty) Polish nationalism, Roman Dmowski.
One law for one...
Law and Justice have also said that the counter-march to what they call the “March of Independence” by law abiding nationalists and patriots should not have been allowed. Mariusz Blaszczak, leader of the party in parliament, said that the late Lech Kaczynski (when he was mayor of Warsaw, I think he means) maintained public order by banning counter marches.
I remember when he means. Lech Kaczynski banned a counter-march to our old friends, All-Polish Youth's anti-gay demonstration in 2005.
It resulted in an hour-long bottle shower from skinheads against the few thousand people brave enough to turn up at the now illegal counter-demonstration.
Neither law, order, nor justice, was kept.
The right to assembly should not discriminate: peaceful - peaceful - protest is lawful to anyone, including Germans, who want to take part, for whatever reason. Always.
Expect, sadly, a more authoritarian attitude to protest in the future, as politicians scramble to look like they are “doing something” about what was essentially pointless violence last Friday.