The Polish police arrested hundreds of nationalists who clashed with police causing serious damage during the independence celebrations on November 11 in Warsaw

Riot have police fired rubber bullets at groups of masked far-right youths after a nationalist march turned violent in the Polish capital.

The annual event is held to commemorate Poland’s national independence day, and for the third year in a row it broke down into running battles in the middle of Warsaw between rioters and police.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said what should have been a holiday had been ruined by acts of aggression and violence.

“What happened is unacceptable,” he said.

The violence started when a few dozen youths, their faces covered by balaclavas and football scarves, broke off from the procession into a side street and started attacking a building where left-wing radicals occupied a squat.

Riot police moved in, and came under attack from youths throwing firecrackers and stones.The violence underscores the problems in Polish society with many having grown wealthier in the past few years.

Although dozens of demonstrators and police officers were wounded during the clashes, the liberal daily Gazeta praises the police for their excellent deployment:

“The police were well organised and had transferred around 5,000 extra officers to Warsaw for the occasion. That’s a substantial number, and it gave them numerical superiority over the chaotic band of rioters. In addition they made very efficient use of their special units, including a counter-terrorism unit whose task was to apprehend the most aggressive hooligans. The only problem was that they sometimes intervened too late.”


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