The Stops on the Polish Independence Day

Published on 04/05/2020

On the 11th of November 2017 nationalist and far right circles organized the March of Independence on the streets of Warsaw. Over the years the huge demonstration that has been organized annually on the Polish Independence Day with the support of politicians of Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Order) – a right-wing party which has ruled Poland since 2015 – became an opportunity to manifest racist, extremely xenophobic and homophobic views.

The state apparatus, including the police, was involved in ensuring a smooth march of thousands of supporters of the ruling party through the streets of Warsaw, so that nothing would interfere with their nationalist cries and presentations of extreme views.
It was known that a group of citizens associated with the organization “Citizens of the Republic of Poland” (Obywatele RP) will try to protest peacefully against allowing the spread of hate speech during the Independence Marches.The police decided to prevent the counter- manifestation. Even before the Independence March began, members of the “Citizens of the Republic of Poland” were secretly observed on the streets of Warsaw. At 3 p.m. they were surrounded by police officers on Smolna Street and 45 people were stopped. They were forcefully transported to the police station at Wilcza Street, where they were detained for several hours without any information about the purpose of their detention. It was suggested, however, that they were brought to the police station to establish their identity.

None of the people were detained, 45 people were transported to a police unit, none of them were charged. All these persons were subject to identity tracing for further action […] – informed the spokesman of the Warsaw Police Headquarters Sylwester Marczak

Despite the fact that the Police denied that detention was a result of stop, the detained members of the Citizens of the Republic of Poland Association filed a complaint with the court questioning the legality of stop. On 25 of January 2018 the District Court for Warsaw-Śródmieście upheld the complaint and determined that although the stop was legal it was unjustified and incorrect.

At the same time the police have tried to prosecute C.K. for petty offence of interfering with an assembly and organizing an unauthorized assembly (Article 52 § 2 (1) of the Petty Offences Code). The case against C.K. was dismissed by the court on the 21 August 2018.

C.K. subsequently has filed the complaint seeking compensation and redress from the State Treasury for unjustified stop. On the 31st of August 2018 the Regional Court of Warsaw (XVIII Ko 28/18) granted C.K. compensation (PLN 1.500). The court found that the police in fact did carry the preventive stop despite the claims that it was just “the ID checkup”. The court pointed out that the detainee was not informed about his rights, nor was the protocol of his detention handed over to him. The court stressed that there were so many police officers that they could easily conduct identity checks of all persons on the spot and it was unnecessary to bring them to the police station. The court has also acknowledged that the police had filed a case against C.K. for alleged petty offence. However, in the court’s view it had no connection with the stop in question since the police at the time of stop did not inform C.K. that he will be detained in connection to interfering with an assembly and filing of charges took place more than three months after the incident.


Image: ‘Europe is dying!’ Nationalists march in huge independence parade calling for Polish Intifada – Posted by EU Times on Nov 12th, 2019

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