- September 1, 2011
Demonstration in Warsaw in defense of Poles in Lithuania
On Wednesday in Warsaw took place another manifestation in defense of the rights of Poles in Lithuania. It was organized by „Memoriae Fidelis” Association (Aleksander Szych) and “Freedom and Democracy” Foundation (Michał Dworczyk) supported by Federation of Borderland Organizations (Adam Chajewski).
Demonstrators gathered next to the Embassy of Lithuania located on Aleje Ujazdowskie in Warsaw. They unfurled their traditional banners with Polish and English inscriptions against discrimination of Poles in Lithuania.
Opening the manifestation Aleksander Szycht was telling about the actions of Lithuanian authorities aimed at Polish education and about responses to these actions. He informed that a school year in Polish schools in Lithuania begins with a school strike. He also condemned those who had painted out Lithuanian names of places on bilingual road signs in Poland (whoever they were – Poles, Lithuanians or someone else). He emphasized that Lithuanian authorities are morally responsible for it – they actually do not paint the names out, but they remove them with the help of courts. He also reminded of the present anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Lithuania, describing their current condition as catastrophic.
Michał Dworczak discussed the problems of Polish education in Lithuania, especially caused by the anti-Polish reform and reaction of Poles – manifestations, a school strike. He also read the famous letter of Gintaras Steponavičius, paying attention to all distortions and manipulations.
A habitual guest of our manifestations, deputy of PiS (“Law and Justice”) – Artur Górski, criticized Polish authorities for their lack of effectiveness. He emphasized that the defense of Poles in Lithuania from Lithuanian discrimination is a cross-party issue.
Adam Chajewski reminded of one more anniversary – of the dissolution of Polish self-governments and appointment of Lithuanian governors in Polish regions.
The manifestation had also its happening part. The letter of minister Steponavičius, slightly shabby – torn up, was placed in a trash bin. The Minister received a teddy bear – a penguin (symbolizing deep cooling, if not freezing, of Polish-Lithuanian relations) and a figure of Pinocchio (whose nose was getting longer while lying). Ambassador Loreta Zakarevičienė received bilingual (Polish and Lithuanian) street sign with the name of town Krasnogruda. However, it was difficult to deliver those gifts. Lack of cooperation with the security of embassy caused that the figures were pushed into a postbox and the street sign was left by the entrance.
The manifestation attracted considerable media attention.
a vice-president of Federation of Borderland Organizations
a member of „Memoriae Fidelis” Association
Tłumaczenie Karolina Krześniak w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu Translated by Karolina Krześniak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu
Korekta Magdalena Jez w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu Corrected by Magdalena Jez, as a part of vocational training in the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu