- According to Onet’s calculations, between 70,000 and 90,000 people took part in this year’s Independence March in Warsaw. people
- We walked the entire route, talking to the participants. — We want to honor our great Poles who fought for us 105 years ago, some of them told us. “We can’t give up now, we have to fight,” explained others
- “We do not want to be citizens of the Fourth German Reich”, “Only under the cross, only under this sign, Poland is Poland and a Pole is a Pole”, “PO is the greatest threat to Poland” – these are some of the slogans on the banners
- More important information can be found on the Onet home page
The first participants Independence March They appear near the Dmowski roundabout around 13, i.e. one hour before the planned start of the meeting. They have Polish flags, white and red scarves and hats, trumpets and whistles. Others pinned red and white cotillions to their clothes. There are also banners of various organizations and associations, often with the name of the city they come from.
Ban on using firecrackers and flares? People reacted with laughter
The crowd is getting thicker every minute. However, it is noticeable that there are fewer people than in previous years. I can easily go from the Centrum metro station via the underground passage to the w tram stop Al. Jerozolimskie, between Rotunda and Novotel. During previous marches, it happened that the services closed these exits to control the crowd more effectively.
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Fifteen minutes before the start of the march, I can easily walk to the very front of it, up to the line marked by march guard. Previously it was impossible at this time, now I don’t even have to push myself.
The demonstration is preceded by a rosary prayer, and punctually at 14 the Polish national anthem sounds. Those gathered sing all its verses. During it, many people light flares and hold them up. Acrid smoke envelopes the crowd. It is possible that in reaction to this, after the anthem, the leader of the meeting reminds that the use of pyrotechnics and loud noises is prohibited during the march, which the gathered people respond to… with loud laughter. A moment later, someone throws another firecracker. Even the march guards burst into laughter.
Now it’s time for the speeches. The voices include: Bartosz Malewski, president of the Independence March Association, who he replaced in this position Robert Bąkiewicz. When he states that “We say a loud and firm ‘no’ to the European Union,” people unanimously respond with a resounding ‘no!’. A moment later, the crowd chants ‘Thank you to great Poland’ and ‘Roman Dmowski, the liberator of Poland.’
“Poland is us, Poland is us, not Donald and his dogs.”
Then Krzysztof Bosak, one of the leaders of the national movement and co-founders of the march, gives a speech. He also talks about negative influences from the West and the takeover of our country. – I wonder if Karina will also be given a vote – wonders one of the men, referring to Bosak’s wife, who became famous when she got into the Sejm, winning twice as many votes as Janusz Korwin-Mikke, running from the same list. “Uh, she probably looks after the children at home,” his friend replies.
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Those gathered chant more slogans: “Sovereignty is not for sale!” and “Pride, pride, national pride!”. – Let’s shout so that Trzaskowski hears us, so that Tusk hears us, what words are most important to us: God, honor and homeland – encourages the leader of the meeting, and after a while the crowd chants another slogan, referring to the head of the Civic Platform: “Poland is us “Poland is us, not Donald and his dogs.”
Just before 15 the march starts. The crowd spreads across the entire width of Al. Jerozolimskie. Flags are flying, trumpets and whistles are heard, but firecrackers and flares are being fired again and again. Participants raise their banners. “We do not want to be citizens of the Fourth German Reich”, “Only under the cross, only under this sign, Poland is Poland and a Pole is a Pole”, “PO is the greatest threat to Poland”, “The Fourth Reich no, Poland yes” – these are some of the slogans on them.
While marching, I talk to the participants of the meeting. I ask, among other things, why they are here and what their motivations are.
“My great-grandfather took part in the Battle of Warsaw, so I’m going for him too”
— We wanted to honor Polish patriots and people who fought for our freedom with our presence. We are happy that there are so many white and red colors here. I’m not here for political reasons, just purely patriotic. We want to honor our great Poles who fought for us 105 years ago. Besides, my great-grandfather took part in the Battle of Warsaw, so I’m going for him too, says Julia, who went to the demonstration with her husband Artur and their son Seweryn.
Julia (on the left) went on the march with her husband Artur and their son Seweryn
Students Alicja and Kamila from Toruń came to Warsaw especially for the Independence March. — For me, Poland is extremely important and that good values that I agree with are passed on. Those who are on this march. I treat it as a holiday, a solemn celebration of the anniversary of our country regaining independence, Alicja tells me.
— We are here out of respect for our ancestors who fought for independence. This is not about some demonstration or opposition. We also teach patriotism to our children, who we have been taking to this march regularly for years. It’s about celebrating independence, adds Małgorzata, who also went on the march with her family – her husband, two children and a dog.
Alicja and Kamila from Toruń came to Warsaw especially for the Independence March
Ladies Aleksandra and Wiesława, who came especially for the march from Sieradz, have a slightly different intention. — We love our homeland and want to live in a free and sovereign Poland. And we want our children and grandchildren to be able to live in such a country. We feel a threat to Poland. We cannot allow it to be taken over by foreign forces, they say.
“We need to act in advance to take advantage of the element of surprise.”
Mrs. Maria and Mr. Zbigniew, retirees from Warsaw, are even more blunt. — Tusk wants to enslave Poland and sell it to Germany. He doesn’t care about our homeland, only about money and fulfilling his obligations to his Western principals. We cannot allow this, they believe.
“We can’t give up now, we have to fight,” adds a man in his prime who is listening to our conversation. When I ask who exactly we should fight, he says directly: – We should firmly oppose Germany and Russia, and if we can’t do it peacefully, then go to war with them, otherwise they will organize partitions again. We must act in advance to take advantage of the element of surprise. We’ve dealt with them in the past, and we’ll deal with them now, he says.
Participants of the Independence March repeatedly lit flares, although the organizers of the rally informed that it was prohibited
‘Our next interlocutor, Mrs. Beata, does not agree with this terrifying vision of open war. — In my opinion, we should do everything to ensure that no war ever happens again. But we have to be tough to play by our rules and for others to respect us. Poland is great and Poles are a great nation. We have nothing to be ashamed of and we can walk proudly with our heads held high. Just like on this march – explains Mrs. Beata.
They had previously thrown flares at her. Now it is covered with sheets
We have already passed the palm tree at the de Gaulle Roundabout and are approaching the Poniatowski Bridge. I hear more and more radical slogans: “Down with the European Union”, “Ban on pedaling” and the traditional slogans of the Independence March – “And instead of leaves there will be communists hanging on the trees” and “Once with a sickle, once with a hammer, red rabble.”
Walking over the bridge, we pass the tenement house at ul. 3 Maja, where three years ago, march participants set fire to an apartment by throwing a flare inside. It later turned out that this was the premises of Stefan Okolowicz, an expert on Witkacy’s work, and 36-year-old Piotr K. did not want to hit his window, but wanted to hit the floor below, where a rainbow flag and the symbol of the Women’s Strike were hanging on the balcony. The man, a resident of Białystok, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly PLN 10,000. PLN compensation and court costs. Now the organizers of the march have decided to cover this tenement house from the marchers with large tarps to prevent a similar situation from happening (just like last year and two years ago).
The tenement house where three years ago the participants of the Independence March set fire to the apartment by throwing a flare into it, was covered with tarps
On the bridge I still see large banners carried by several people with the inscriptions “Death to the enemies of the homeland” and “Poland has not yet perished” – the motto of this year’s Independence March. After hours At 4 p.m. we reach the grounds of the National Stadium, where the participants of the meeting can expect more speeches and concerts.
— This is one of the most peaceful Independence Marches. Anticipatory activities were important to us. Per hour 6.30 p.m. 56 people were detained and over 1,100 pyrotechnics were seized. We wish everyone a safe celebration, there are still a few hours – summed up the inspector on X (formerly Twitter). Sylwester Marczak, spokesman for the Warsaw Police Headquarters.