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Polish independence march banned by court over far-right violence

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The Independence Day march was held in 2020 despite a pandemic ban on public gatherings.
The Independence Day march was held in 2020 despite a pandemic ban on public gatherings.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

A Polish court has upheld a ban on a far-right rally organised by nationalists on Poland’s Independence Day.

The Warsaw District Court ruled in favour of the city's mayor, who has sought to ban the march following violence last year.

Organisers of the rally pledged to appeal the ruling and insisted the march would go ahead as planned on November 11.

The march has attracted large numbers of participants in recent years, underlining the rising support for the far-right in Poland.

Nationalists from other countries also travel to Warsaw to take part, while organisers have received funding and other support from the right-wing Polish government.

Konstanty Radziwill, the conservative governor of the region, had approved the 2021 march last week.

But Warsaw's liberal mayor Rafal Trzaskowski has said that the Polish capital is "no place to propagate slogans that have all the hallmarks of fascist slogans".

The city was razed by Nazi German forces during World War II.

The November 11 national holiday marks Poland regaining its independence after World War I, but in recent years has attracted nationalist groups, violence and anti-Semitism.

At last year’s march -- which took place despite a pandemic ban on public gatherings -- police used tear gas and rubber bullets in clashes with far-right supporters.

Poland’s government has generally shown acceptance of far-right groups since it took power in 2015, offering funds to two groups led by the Independence March Association.