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Polish authorities detain far-right Hungarians as fascists gather in Warsaw

Source: Politics Hungary/Romea | Thursday, 15 November 2012

Polish authorities checked the identity of dozens of far-right Hungarians at Modlin airport near Warsaw on Friday, according to a Hungarian embassy source. Jobbik MP Gyula György Zagyva and 64 Counties Youth Movement founder László Toroczkai had flown to Warsaw to attend a march organised by Polish far-right groups to mark Poland’s Independence Day. Polish far-right groups and the affected Hungarians disputed the legality of the proceedings.

The organisers claimed that Polish authorities illegally stopped dozens of Hungarians for several hours on Friday and then detained several of them on Saturday. Zagyva said the Polish authorities did not proceed “according to European norms”. He did not rule out the possibility of filing a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Polish police and border guards denied stopping or detaining Hungarians. They confirmed that they checked close to 40 passengers who arrived on a flight from Budapest and questioned several people on suspicion of alleged vandalism on Saturday.

The Hungarian embassy issued a statement stressing that Hungary will provide consular assistance and protection to all Hungarians in distress and has done so in his case as well. It also said that all Hungarians are obliged to observe the legal regulations of the country of reception and “Poland is an ally and friendly democracy governed by the rule of law and we respect its administrative moves”.

Warsaw was all but transformed into a war zone on the day of the march as neo-Nazis clashed with police officers on the anniversary of the country's independence. Dozens of people were injured, 120 demonstrators were arrested, and total chaos reigned in the streets. The biggest clashes took place near the main train station, away from the main route of the march, which was attended by about 15 000 people.

Some marchers attacked police officers with firecrackers and rocks. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Polish nationalists convened yesterday's march in order to "take Poland back". Their members also beat up a cameraman working for the commercial TVN television station.

A nationalist leader stated that Poland is not a sovereign country because it previously had to conform to the Soviet Union and today must conform to the European Union. Compared to previous years, police did a better job yesterday of keeping a left-wing demonstration away from the right-wing radical march, preventing even more serious clashes.

The left-wing protest took place without any problems. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski also organized a march in an attempt to unify both left-wing and right-wing activists. He reportedly did not succeed, but there were no conflicts at his event.

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