Riot police have clashed with protesters in Poland amid anti-foreigner sentiment in a northeastern town, after a young local man was stabbed to death on New Year’s Eve following a row at a kebab restaurant.
A Tunisian national – said to have worked as a cook at the restaurant in Elk – has been charged with killing the 21-year-old, who has been identified only as Daniel.
Amid the ensuing protests, the restaurant’s windows were smashed, demonstrators shouted anti-foreigner slogans and the police were attacked. Police say they made 28 arrests.
“The detained people were the most aggressive in the crowd. They remain in custody. Each of these incidents will be dealt with separately. These people have to answer for their actions,” said police spokeswoman Agata Kulikowska de Nalecz.
The prosecutor, Wojciech Piktel, said it was unclear what had started the row at the restaurant, but it appeared that the man who was killed had taken two drinks and left without paying. The Pole – said to have been accompanied by another young man – was chased by staff from the restaurant before being stabbed twice. At least one firecracker was reportedly thrown.
Reports say police arrested several people over the killing. A local councillor has been quoted as saying that those held were people of North African origin who managed the restaurant, the Prince Kebab.
The following day, people began gathering in front of the restaurant. Video uploaded to social media shows two men breaking windows, to applause and cheers from the crowd on the other side of the street.
Reports say police kept their distance at first, but later tried to move people away from the restaurant. The clashes took place on Sunday evening.
The mayor of Elk, Tomasz Andrukiewicz, has appealed for calm, attributing the violence in his town to the anti-immigrant mood prevailing in Europe.