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Warsaw court overturns mayor's prohibition of far-right march

Warsaw court overturns mayor's prohibition of far-right march
FILE PHOTO: Protesters light flares and hold Polish flags during the annual nationalist march in Warsaw to mark the anniversary of Polish independence, November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo   -   Copyright  Kacper Pempel(Reuters)
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WARSAW (Reuters) – A local Warsaw court on Thursday overturned the city mayor’s decision to call off a far-right march scheduled for Sunday to celebrate the centenary of Polish independence, after the organisers appealed.

“We are victorious, the Independence March will take place in Warsaw,” the organisers, themselves members of far-right groups, said in a statement.

Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz had banned the annual march, saying Warsaw had “suffered enough due to aggressive nationalism”.

The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), a socially conservative group with a nationalist agenda, taps into many of the same frustrations with Western liberal values and anti-establishment sentiment that galvanise far-right voters throughout Europe.

However, President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Wednesday that the government would hold a march following the same route at the same time as the far-right march.

“We do not accept, we do not allow for those (far-right) groups gathering in Poland under any circumstances,” Morawiecki said on Thursday.

The government could not be reached to comment on the ruling, and it was not clear how the two plans could be reconciled; the organisers of the far-right march have insisted all along that they will march as planned.

Tens of thousands of are expected to attend the far-right march from around Poland and Europe, in what could to be the largest anniversary march to date.

Last year’s version drew around 60,000 participants and far-right groups from across Europe. Many carried banners with slogans such as “Pure blood, clear mind” and “Europe will be white or uninhabited”.

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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