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(en) Nov. 18 - Day of actions in Poland

Date Sun, 19 Nov 2006 17:49:33 +0200

Nov. 18 could be called a "day of actions" in Poland because three big
actions took place in different cities. Although none of them were
specifically anarchist, large groups of anarchists went to all of them and
in one was the major group.
Action 1: Anti-Fascist Rally in Torun
This was the largest such action in this city. About 200 people came, anarchists
and antifascists, to protest the presence of fascists in Poland and the presence
of far-right radicals and (former?) fascists in the government.
Some fascists had threatened to kill people in response to a firebomb attack
on one fascist HQ in Warsaw which occurred a few days ago. But in the end,
only about 10 boneheads showed up, started chanting something and then ran
away. It's supposed that the radical antifascist action has scared them from
having any confrontation with antifascists at least: last week another
fascist group cancelled their march in Warsaw, going to church and taking
buses to their destination instead of marching. However, they didn't seem
scared enough not to go to the second action.

Action 2: Equality March in Poznan

This march is often called "the gay parade", but organizers in Poznan paid
special attention to point out it was against discrimination in general, not
only for the rights of gays.

About 450 people showed up including a large group of anarchists. The parade
had met with protest beforehand from the church and the All-Polish youth,
who wanted to ban in. They were particularly upset because the parade wanted
to start in a certain place in Poznan. John Paul 2 had apparently spoken
from that place, so the crazies claim that it's some sort of insult that
people promote gays starting from this "sacred" place.

The demo went well although there were more cops than demonstrators. Some
All-Polish Youth and fascists from NOP went and starting saying that they'd
do with the demonstrators what Hitler did with the Jews and some of them
were arrested.

Here are photos:


Action 3: Train for Rospuda Valley

Radical ecologists organized a train trip to Augustow to speak to local
people about the Augustow bypass. A large number of anarchists also went on
this trip to agitate for an alternative route for the bypass, which is to be
part of the Via Baltica highway from Warsaw to Helsinki. The currently
planned bypass would cut through the Rospuda Valley, a rare natural area
which is a Natura 2000 protected site. (In April, the EU started proceedings
against Poland for damaging protected ecological areas.) Some of the rarer
wildlife in the area, which is part of a national park which includes
primieval forest, are lynx and different type of eagles.

Besides the ecological issue, there are other interesting social issues
which compelled people to go there. The city of Augustow has an awful
problem that trucks go through it and, since there is only one traffic light
in the whole city, and since people routinely speed, people are constantly
being killed. Despite this, the mayor refuses to even consider putting up
traffic lights. Yesterday was a conference with ecologists: the mayor
refused to come, saying he won't speak with ecologists. He gave his own
press conference and when asked why he won't put up traffic lights, he
answered "because it would slow down the flow of traffic". Ironically, after
the demo and hyde park, one of the policemen who escorted people to the
trains got killed when he was hit by a truck.

So as it turns out, the building plans have some classic elements of
corruption involved, especially land speculation. If that route through the
valley is chosen, it will be ineligible for structural funds from the EU and
local taxpayers will have to pay 100% of the cost. Poland will probably also
be fined, which means more costs for taxpayers.

So far, more than 200,000 people have signed petitions against this route
and for an alternative route that would not only avoid going through the
valley, but would also serve as a bypass for the next city, Suwalki.

Despite all this, the mayor of the city has done an amazing job of
convincing some, if not most, of the city that the only reason that people
get killed in Augustow is because the ecologists care more about birds than
people and are blocking the building of the bypass.

About 300 people went to the city to hold an open meeting with residents and
do hand out information and try to talk to the mayor. Some of the more
hostile residents came and it was even quite disheartening to see how strong
the misinformation from some politicians can be. For example, the residents
had been told that Greenpeace had been blocking the road for 15 years, which
is even impossible because Greenpeace started in Poland only 2 years ago.

Despite this, the action was quite interesting and is probably the first
time that local residents even engaged in any discussion on the topic.

Some information about the problem in English:

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