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Angry scenes at venue where far-right Polish leader due to appear

There was a heavy garda presence and a glass bottle was thrown.

Updated at 9.05pm

Polish Fascist Debate. Pictured demons A protester blocks people from entering the venue. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THERE HAVE BEEN angry scenes this evening at a Dublin hotel, where a meeting of far-right Polish politicians had been due to take place.

The manager of the Academy Hotel off Dublin’s O’Connell Street contacted the organisers and it was decided that the event would be cancelled.

But speaking earlier to TheJournal.ie, one of the event’s organisers Grzegorz Kotarba said no such cancellation had taken place and they turned up at the hotel as planned at 7pm.

Marian Kowalski, the Presidential candidate for Ruch Narodowy (National Movement) was set to debate independent candidate Grzegorz Braun.

A counter-protest entitled ‘Dublin Says No to Fascism‘ was also organised for the same time leading to angry scenes.

Protesters attempted to prevent party supporters from entering the venue and were aggressive in questioning others who were present to hear the two men speak.

The gardaí were called by one Polish man who was manhandled by protesters.

Gardaí arrived about 10 minute later and a bottle was thrown as more supporters attempt to enter the hotel.

Source: Ronanduffy09/Vine

Cork

A similar event planned for Cork on Sunday was also cancelled by the Ambassador Hotel.

Kowalski’s inclusion in the debates has provoked particular controversy.

 

The National Movement uses strongly nationalistic symbols, black uniforms and encourages children to be “trained as young Poles”.

It is also aligned with the similarly right-wing ONR (National Radical Camp) which has previously been seen using a Fascist salute.

ONR Members of the ONR in Poland. Source: Facebook/National Radical Camp

Asked about the use of the salute, Kotarba says the ONR used the straight arm salute before the Second World War but its use was banned in 1945.

Members using the salute are “nothing to do with us”, he claimed. He added that it is “ridiculous that we are called Fascists and Nazis”.

Kotarba also claims that he has received death threats through social media since the event was launched but decided against reporting threats to the gardaí.

Changed venue

After the situation became calmer, organisers found another Dublin hotel to host the event and and the meeting went ahead an hour later.

Speaking at the rescheduled event, organiser Bartosz Marczynski said that it “could not be more wrong” to label him as a Nazi.

He said that his grandfather was killed in a Nazi death camp, as were others in his family, and that labelling him as such would be “the worst possible understanding of Polish history.

photo1 L-R. Grzegorz Braun, Bartosz Marczynski, Marian Kowalski, unnamed translator.

Marczynski added that promoting fascist ideas is illegal in Poland and the if the two men present were doing so they would have been found as criminals in the court.

Both Kowalski and Braun have secured the necessary 100,000 signatures to be included in the presidential ballot but are polling at under 1%.

Magdalena Jablonska was also present at this evening’s meeting, she is Polish and lives in Ireland. She argues that those opposed to the presence of the two men don’t understand the complexities of the issues involved.

“Poles are much more religious and conservative in their believes than Irish are these days, ” she told TheJournal.ie. “I am glad that you understand the difference between “fascism” and patriotism. The second one is just loving your country. The extreme left today did not understand that.”

Kowalski and Braun are scheduled to hold another press conference tomorrow morning.

 Read: Cork hotel cancels debate with Polish far-right politician >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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