On Saturday ultra-right wing group the ONR again organised a protest against the Polish Government’s open policy towards Ukrainian immigration.
The extreme group, whose own website states they oppose the model of multicultural societies, the ideology of human rights and the system of liberal democracy, organised a similar demonstration in March 2017.
Last year’s protest reportedly only attracted around 30 people, which was three times more than the number attendees at the demonstration on Saturday. A similarly small number also gathered on the Rynek at the same time for a counter protest.
According to the ONR, the presence of Ukrainians in Poland has caused increases in rents and house prices as well as a decline in wages. They are also furious with governing party PiS for having an “idiotic, anti-Polish migration policy.”
During Saturday’s protest, ONR representatives claimed that Ukrainians do not want to integrate and do not learn Polish. Chants including “Poland for Poles”, “Polish jobs for Poles” and “Ukrainians get out” could also be heard.
When we want to use services such as shops, banks, insurance companies and other institutions, we can not often speak Polish.
We speak clearly. No subsidies for Ukrainians. Poland is not a paradise for foreigners. Not a paradise for strangers. Ukrainians, get out of Poland. Get out from Wroclaw with your compatriots and go to Ukraine!
Łukasz Burzyński, ONR
Ahead of the demonstration on Saturday Wrocław President Rafał Dutkiewicz condemned the ONR and their actions:
“I have been the president of Wroclaw for 16 years. An exceptional city – European, open and tolerant. Our hospitality means that tens of thousands of citizens from Ukraine live in Wrocław. In our city they have found their home, they learn, work and rest here. They co-create the Wrocław community, are fully-fledged residents of Wrocław. The ONR demonstration planned for today against the residents of Wroclaw who come from Ukraine is something repugnant to me.
Rafał Dutkiewicz, current President of Wrocław
Jacek Sutryk, the current favourite to replace Rafał Dutkiewicz after this autumn’s local elections, followed his party colleague in condemning Saturday’s ONR protest. Other presidential candidates Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bą, Jerzy Michalak and Marta Lempart also shared their strong opposition to the ONR and their demonstration.
PiS’ Mirosława Stachowiak-Różecka was critical of the ONR’s protest too, as she sought to defend her party’s immigration policy.
Low unemployment and good economic conditions in Poland disprove the ONR’s slogans regarding the presence of Ukrainians in our city. Let us also remember that there is a war going on in their country and those who come here are looking not only for work but also for shelter.
Mirosława Stachowiak-Różecka, PiS candidate for the President of Wrocław
In April of last year Wrocław’s statistical office confirmed that 10% of Wrocław’s population was Ukrainian. That figure is likely to have increased since then. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin even claimed last week that 30% of Wrocławians now speak Ukrainian – although that does appear to be a gross exaggeration.