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Observation of the 11th November rallies

At the request of the Chief of the Warsaw Police Force, 24 observers of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights were sent to observe rallies held on the Poland’s Independence Day.

The Foundation’s experts watched the gatherings which came together at Plac na Rozdrożu, Plac Konstytucji and Marszałkowska Street in Warsaw. The rallies were marred by a number of riots and clashes between police and demonstrators.

Our observers paid special attention to the measures employed by the police in securing all the demonstrations. The initial observations indicate that the actions taken by the police against demonstrators at Plac Konstytucji were adequate and proportionate. The police also succeeded in keeping the rival marchers apart, effectively separating the participants of the Independence March gathered on Plac Konstytucji and the Colourful Independent demonstrators in Marszałkowska Street.

The observers expressed reservations about the police work in securing the Independence March after it was directed towards Plac Unii Lubelskiej and, marching along Aleje Ujazdowskie, reached Plac na Rozdrożu. ‘It really wasn’t safe there. The police were stationed closer to ul. Koszykowa and the Ministry of Justice, they were securing the entrance to the square but it seemed they weren’t in control of what was happening on the square’, told the Polish Press Agency Adam Bodnar, HFHR Deputy President.

The HFHR is working on the detailed report based on the observations. ‘The report will be available on the Foundation’s website at the beginning of the next week’, says Danuta Przywara, President of the HFHR.


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