TIME TO REGAIN POLAND
Whole Poland celebrated the anniversary of regaining its independence, but the eyes were mostly directed to Warsaw and the march of Independence organized by right-wing environment. The march was attended - according to various estimates - from several dozen to more than a hundred thousand people.
All over Poland on 11 November, on the Day of Independence, thousands of Poles participated in celebrations, marches, historical reconstructions, singing patriotic songs together. President Bronisław Komorowski led an official march under the motto ‘Together for Independent Poland’, following political leaders of the Second Polish Republic.
Central celebrations of the Day of Independence in Warsaw started with a solemn holy mass in the military cathedral of the Polish Army, which was chaired by the Warsaw metropolitan Kazimierz Nycz, whereas the homily was given by the military bishop of the Polish Army Józef Guzdek. In the cathedral there was president Bronisław Komorowski with his spouse. There was also, among the others, a widow of the last president of the Polish Republic in exile Karolina Kaczorowska.
– Nobody loses anything by celebrating the Day of Independence, but gains the whole Polish tradition – said president Komorowski at the monument of the Marshal Józef Piłsudski, finishing the march which he had been leading.
Some politicians were raising emotions from before the celebration till the end. Activists of the Movement of Palikot were demanding the demolition of the monument of Roman Dmowski and were encouraging Poles to stay at home this day. Activists of the Left Democratic Alliance, led by Leszek Miller, were trying to raise a dispute about the National Military Forces, accusing them of an alliance with Hitler.
In Warsaw a few dozen manifestations and marches took place in total. The March under the motto: ‘Fascism will not be passed’ – was organized by the coalition of Agreement on 11 November and the march under the motto ‘Social Poland’ gathered leftist groups. However, most participants, like last year, were gathered in the rightist March of Independence, this year taking place under the motto: ‘let’s regain Poland’. Those who were observing the march, say about an ocean of people flowing through the centre of the capital. Nearly everybody were walking carrying white and red flags ‘Glory to Heroes’, ’Independence not for sale’ – they were shouting.
However, it was close and the march would have ended just after its start. For, the police had blocked the march for unknown reasons just before its start from the roundabout of Dmowski. It provoked some participants who were trying to push away police officers. People wearing balaclavas, armed with police so-called telescopic truncheons, started beating those who were leading the march. Firecrackers were thrown at police officers. Participants – according to their reports – were blocked nearly from all directions and were not able to withdraw.
Police officers started calling for ending the demonstration. The negotiations of the MPs of the Law and Justice party caused a change of decision by law and order services. Police officers gave up. About a hundred thousand participants of the march were continuing the march in peace, holding the national flags in hands. At the monument of Roman Dmowski wreaths were laid, and after that the march went to Agrykol, where ending speeches were made, the national hymns and ‘Rota’ were sung. Robert Winnicki, the chief of the youth from all over Poland, one of the organizers of the Independence March, announced the creation of the National Movement. – We want to rebuild Great Poland – he said.
On 11 November, also the leader of the Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński laid flowers at the monuments of the creators of independence. Later he went to Cracow with his collaborators where at Wawel hill he deposited flowers at the monument of John Paul II, on the tomb of Józef Piłsudski and in the crypt of Lech and Maria Kaczyńska. He also made a short statement. He reminded about the merits of Józef Piłsudski and John Paul II for the Polish independence, said about his late brother Lech Kaczyński.
– I hope that other celebrations of the Day of Independence will look different, that the capital will not be like a city endangered by an invasion, and the law and order services will be able to cope with adventurers – said Jarosław Kaczyński, expressing also his astonishment by the absence of the prime minister in the country on the Day of Independence.