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Polish ruling party says far-right march to go ahead despite court ban

In this file photo from November 11, 2016, far-right nationalists burn flares as they march in large numbers through the streets of Warsaw to mark Poland's Independence Day. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
In this file photo from November 11, 2016, far-right nationalists burn flares as they march in large numbers through the streets of Warsaw to mark Poland's Independence Day. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s authorities weigh in to back a controversial Independence Day march dominated by far-right activists, saying the event will go ahead as a state observance, despite having been banned by Polish courts.

The spokeswoman for Poland’s main right-wing ruling party, Anita Czerwinska, confirms that the November 11 march in Warsaw will have an official status and appeals to prospective participants to exhibit a “dignified” approach.

Last month, head of the nationalist Independence March organization defied the court bans and said the march will go ahead but in a smaller form, as required by pandemic restrictions.

The annual November 11 march has earned a bad reputation since becoming dominated by far-right, nationalist groups, with the right-wing government’s consent. It has featured radical slogans and violence, with some people being injured last year and a bookstore and an apartment being set on fire.

Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a top opposition figure, banned the march this year and Warsaw courts upheld the ban.

But a state veterans organization says today it’s giving the march an official status, which means it will go ahead and will have police and army gendarmerie ensuring security.

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