Outspoken ex-priest Jacek Międlar has officially announced the details of the ‘March of Polish Independence’ (formerly known as the ‘March of the Patriots’).
The march starts on November 11th at 5pm by Wroclaw’s main train station and finishes on the Rynek.
For those not familiar with the march, it has been held in the city since 2010. The marches are officially aimed at anyone who feels proud to be Polish, however the people and organisations behind the gatherings have their own agendas that spread well beyond celebrating Polish Independence.
The group who originally spearheaded the march, the NOP, believe in a so called “third position” – an ideology that considers abortion, artificial birth control, euthanasia, divorce and homosexuality as wholly unacceptable. The third position also supports a policy named by the NOP as “racial separation”.
Another group who have been heavily involved in the annual marches are the ONR, whose own website states they oppose the model of multicultural societies, the ideology of human rights and the system of liberal democracy.
Last year Jacek Międar’s “Great Independent Poland” association came to the fore and replaced the other nationalist groups as the main organiser of the march. Members of the ONR and the NOP are nonetheless expected to take part in this year’s event.
Back in 2016 Jacek Międlar was accused of calling Jews a “cancer” who had “swept Poland” during an address to an ONR rally in Białystok. In addition, the former priest has been a key speaker at protests against both Muslim and Ukrainian immigration. On top of that, Międlar has cooperated very closely with Piotr Rybak – the man who infamously burned an effigy of a Jew on Wrocław Rynek back in November 2015.
More recently, Międlar released his own book, titled “My Fight For The Truth”. In the book Międlar allegedly refers to the pogrom in Jedwabne as a “perfidious Jewish lie“. In Międlar’s own words, his book also contains parts on “Jewish-tribal genocide” and an “anti-Polish propaganda war”.
In 2017 participants at the march called for Poland to pull out of the EU and break free from the “Brussels Occupation”. This year the march has been labelled “Life and death for our Nation”. According to the organisers, “all Poles who care for the good of our homeland” are welcome.
At the demonstration Jacek Międlar and his followers plan to show their “strong opposition to anti-Polishism“, which they believe is “gaining in size and has tormented the capital of Lower Silesia for years”. The official invite to the event also claims that the news of the march will cause “panic” among the “leftists and Jewish settlers” who live in Poland.
Embedded inside the official invite is a video address from Międlar, who is seen wearing a hoody emblazoned with the slogan “I don’t apologise for Jedwabne“.
Back in 2015 a record crowd of over 10,000 people took part in the March Of The Patriots, however that number has dipped in the last couple of years. Given that November 12th is a holiday and this year is the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining Independence, the organisers are hoping to reverse that trend.
In the run up to the march in 2015, IBM stoked up controversy after they advised members of their international workforce to steer clear of the city centre during the hours in and around the march. Many considered the comments to be scaremongering given the lack of any violent incidents at previous editions of the marches in Wroclaw.
That said, despite the fact there is no ‘official’ indication the participants wish to attack foreigners in any way, some of those present do have xenophobic attitudes. Therefore there are a reasonable number of locals who believe it to be an unnecessary risk for a foreigner (especially one who is not white) to be in town unaccompanied on the evening of the demonstration.
There are of course plenty of other events taking place on Independence Day this year, including the ‘Happy Independence Day Parade‘ on pl. Wolności between 9.30am and 12.30pm.