Mayday march organised by Polish fascists under the slogan “National Workers Day” was successfully stopped by the coalition of antifascist groups and the citizens of Warsaw.
Klementyna Suchanow, one of the organizers of yesterday’s action and Polish Women strike activist commented: “This march was stopped not by the government, who is in possession of all means to do so, but by ordinary citizens who don’t allow the fascist presence in public spaces.”
The beginning of the citizen action was marked by women associated with Warsaw Women’s Strike, who threw smoke bombs on one of Warsaw’s major streets where the nazis planned to march. That created a smoke barrier, and was a signal for other groups involved: Student’s Antifascist Committee, members of Syrena Squat collective, the Citizens PL group, and others taking part in the action. They were joined by disabled people who took a break from their protest in front of the Parliament in order to join the antifascist action, ordinary citizens, and even some tourists. Women were especially visible during the actions of the day.
Series of spontaneous street blockades followed. The first blockade was dismantled by the police, but that did not stop people from opposing fascist marching in their city and new blockades were quickly set up. At one point the fascists attempted to attack the counter protesters, that however was unsuccessful. As per usual, the antifascist met with police brutality. Some people were violently dragged out of the crowd and arrested. One fascist got nicked too: for trying to use gas against the counter protest. However, despite of the police actions, eventually it became clear that the nazi march will not pass due to the blockades and its organizers were forced to cancel it. That was met with celebratory chants “No pasaron” (past simple of “„No pasarán”) to mark the succesful actions of the day.
Neonazi marches became a common sight in Warsaw in recent years. The largest one is held annually on Polish Independence Day on 11th November. In November 2017, Warsaw saw the largest neonazi march ever held, with 60,000 both Polish and international nationalist attending, including Jayda Fransen from Britain First. The fascist marches frequently meet with opposition from citizens of Warsaw: the city practically demolished by nazis in the 1940s, and the stage of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Warsaw Uprising. Until yesterday, attempts to block marching fascists were unsuccessful and met with brutality from both extreme right and the police.
Lots of very nice pictures from yesterday’s events (and eye witness account in Polish) can be found here.
Photo credit: Agata Kubis/OKO.press