The Latest: Polish leaders to hold Independence Day march
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on independence commemorations planned in Poland (all times local):
A Polish official says the president and the prime minister are organizing a march at which all Poles can join together Sunday to mark the centennial of Polish Independence.
The announcement of the state event comes after the Warsaw city mayor earlier in the day banned a march by radical nationalists that has marred Poland’s international reputation in the past and proven deeply divisive at home.
Blazej Spychalski, a spokesman for President Andrzej Duda, said the president and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki decided to hold the march after consulting with war veterans.
He invited all Poles to march with the national flags Sunday to show that “we are one white-and-red team,” a reference to the national colors.
Poland became independent on Nov. 11, 1918, at the end of World War I.
The mayor of Warsaw is banning a march that radical Polish nationalists had planned for Sunday to coincide with Poland’s Independence Day.
Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said Wednesday her decision is meant to end the “aggressive nationalism” that has been a feature of far-right events for the past decade on the November 11 national holiday.
A similar move was taken in the western Polish city of Wroclaw on Tuesday.
The bans come amid signals that radical far-right groups planned to travel to Poland for the day and as police have staged mass walk-outs that raised security concerns.
This year, Poland is celebrating the centenary of its independence, gained in 1918 at the end of World War I.
A monument to the late President Lech Kaczynski has been installed in a central Warsaw square ahead of its unveiling as part of celebrations marking Poland’s 100 years of independence.
Kaczynski, who was killed in a 2010 plane crash in Russia, was the twin brother of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the current ruling party, Law and Justice.
Plans for the statue have been a point of political contention, with the city authorities — in the hands of the political opposition — opposed to the statue, and the provincial authorities in favor.
The bronze statue will be unveiled Saturday evening ahead of centennial commemorations on Sunday. Poland regained its independence at the end of World War I after more than a century of rule by foreign powers.