Far right leads Warsaw march of ‘patriots’ as Polish border crisis simmers -Thousands attend independence day rallies while troops block people trying to cross frontier from Belarus
Photograph: Wojciech Olkuśnik/EPA
Thousands have marched in Warsaw to mark Poland’s Independence Day, led by far-right groups calling for strong borders, while its troops blocked hundreds of new attempts by people to enter the country from neighbouring Belarus in a tense political standoff.
Security forces patrolled the capital and other cities for the holiday rallies, which in recent years have seen some violent attacks by nationalist extremists.
This year’s march was overshadowed by events unfolding along Poland’s border with Belarus, where thousands of riot police and troops are turning back people, many from the Middle East, who are trying to enter the European Union. Makeshift camps have sprung up in forests on the Belarusian side near a crossing at the Polish town of Kuźnica, and with temperatures falling and access to the frontier restricted, there are fears of a humanitarian crisis.
EU officials have accused the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, of using the people as pawns in a “hybrid attack” to retaliate for sanctions imposed on his authoritarian regime for a harsh internal crackdown on dissent.
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