On Thursday, August 17th, 2017, police in Poland forcefully removed feminist activists who were participating in a sit-in to block the route of a far-right rally in central Warsaw. The Women’s Strike group and activists from Obywatele RP, who aimed to defend democratic principles in Poland, were attempting to prevent several dozen extremists from marching on Poland’s Armed Forces Day.
The feminist protesters, many holding photos of Heather Heyer, the American woman killed during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the previous weekend, were holding white roses. The police were filmed forcibly removing the activists and taking them to a side street to record their names. Despite the police intervention, new protesters arrived to take the place of those removed from the sit-in.
The far-right rally was organized by The All-Polish Youth group. They reportedly met in front of the Polish Army Museum and were supposed to make their way across the city to the tomb of the unknown soldier. The organizers said that they wanted to pay homage to the outstanding generation of Poles who had regained independence for Poland and defended it against the Bolshevik’s barbaric invasion.
Polish far-right groups have become increasingly active in recent years, particularly on national holidays. Some critics of the ruling Law and Justice party believe that the government is emboldening these groups by failing to denounce them in strong terms.