Leading by example: antifascist actions in Warsaw

On the 11th November, members of Antifa Poland gathered in Warsaw to oppose a neo-Nazi march. Their account of the day, originally posted on Indymedia and reposted verbatim below, offers a glimpse of what a broad-based, militant antifascist campaign can achieve.

On 11th November, due to the demonstration of Polish neonazi organizations (including ONR -Oboz Narodowo-Radykalny), the anarchists and antifascists organized a series of actions which were supposed to show their determined and straightforward objection against fascism. The actions were a part of the European days against fascism, which were announced by the antifascist conference organized by Siempre Antifascista.

The most important event on that day was the legal demonstration organized by the 11th November Agreement in the center of Warsaw. It started at 1 p.m. (an hour before the planned fascists’ march) and it gathered 300-400 people. Antifascist activists and people from other organizations gave their speeches. There were people from different Polish cities and also people from abroad. Just after the demonstration had started it was surrounded by the police. People who wanted to join it or leave it had difficulties doing that. In spite of that, the rally still took place, samba drummers played, Food Not Bombs gave out food. After a while small groups of demonstrators started to leave the demonstration and moved towards Senatorska street. A huge banner saying “Fascism won’t go” was dropped from one of the building on the Bankowy Square.

When the antifascists got a signal that the fascist march is approaching, they formed a 150-person-blockade on the Senatorska St, although it was surrounded by the police straightaway, who insisted on leaving the road. The blockade stayed there until the people found out that the route of the fascist demonstration had been changed. Then, some of the antifascists ran to the metro station to get to the center of the city and some people were attacked by the cops who used tear gas and sticks. Around 20 people were cordoned off by the police in a park nearby and stayed there for over two hours, the police did not give them the reason why there had been surrounded.
The fascist march was stopped for a short while on the corner of Nowy Swiat St and Jerozolimskie Av. Around 20 antifascists blocked the road and threw different objects at the fascists. After a while the cops dispersed them and arrested one person.

When the information about the changed route of the fascist march had spread, the antifascists started moving towards the Dmowski monument, where the fascists were supposed to officially finish their demonstration. When the fascists stood in front of the monument, they were surrounded by the police. Dozens of antifascists came in. Suddenly one of the groups was attacked by the plain-clothes cops. There were beaten up and the plain-clothes cops only revealed themselves when the riot police attacked people beating them up with sticks, they also attacked one of the plain-clothes men.
14 people were arrested. As soon as it had been confirmed that those people were kept at the police station on Wilcza St,dozens of people went there to form a solidarity rally. Seven of the arrestees were released the same night, the following five of them were released the next day afternoon and two people after 48 hours. The 7 people who spent 24 and 48 hours at the station were accused of an assault on a police officer. The Anarchist Black Cross will provide legal aid to them.

In the morning hours of the 11th November also militant antifascist actions took place. Decentralized groups of dozens of people attacked the fascists before and after their demonstration. During one of those actions the police used guns (!!!), nobody was hurt (apart from the attacked fascists of course).

The activists who took part in the events of the 11th November had to face mostly illegal forms of police repression almost constantly. From the very beginning people were I.D.ed, detained and threatened by the cops. Four of the antifascists overheard a conversation of some policemen who were close to the metro station where the legal antifascist rally took place, it sounded something like this:

“Cop A: Who are we supposed to ID?
Cop B: The anarchists, the color and the bald ones.”

It is a strong evidence for the ideas of the officers who lead the action. There were ridiculous situations when the police first drove people to one spot (e.g. in the park) and then told them that they had just formed an illegal gathering. Plain-clothes cops attacked antifascists and did not reveal themselves as policemen and then accused people of an assault on a police officer. During I.D.ing people they did not want to give people their names and show their badges, they also did not say what were the reasons of their actions, what is illegal. One of the most absurd things that happened on that day was the official reason why the route of the fascist march was changed – the police said that some “suspicious loads” were found on the official route of the demonstration, which turned out to be just bags with some cardboards. In spite of the fact that the “suspicious loads” had been found, the police did not inform the sappers but they just stated that those were only some cardboards themselves – are these the official procedures after a bomb alarm?!! A tactic like that is apparently willing to criminalize the antifascist and anarchist movement and is also supported by mainstream media propaganda, where they use expressions such as “leftist troublemakers” and “anarchist hooligans” versus the “police protecting the democracy”.

The treatment of the arrestees was also scandalous. They were arrested without any possibility to contact the family or the lawyer, to get the information why they were arrested, they were refused to use the toilet, they were not given any food or water. During the interrogations the activists were threatened with violence, they were insulted, often with racist and sexist insults. The arrestees were given false protocols, luckily they did not sign them. One of the cops said that he was a former member of the ONR and that he was still their supporter, some others also did not hide their fascist likings.

To sum up, this year, the antifascists showed that there is no social consent for public fascist appearances. About 400-500 people took part in the antifascist actions. There were people from all over Poland, also some activists from Berlin and Prague. The actions were more diverse than last year. You could see that people are not afraid of fascist organizations anymore and they would not tolerate spreading the fascist ideology. Antifa techniques are more and more offensive and that is the proper direction of their development. The fascist march succeeded to pass through only thanks to huge amounts of police mobilized for the day, what was a huge cost for the state. We know it very well that the neo-liberal authorities look at the reality only through economic lenses, so they can expect how much they are going to lose next year if they allow the fascists to march. Mr Prime Minister, Mrs President of Warsaw, is it worth it?! Remember that wherever the fascists are going to spread their sick ideas, we will also be there to make their dreams of power become nightmares. By all means necessary!


Based on personal account and web-sites:




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