• March 14, 2012
  • 229

Polish Rally Evokes Hysterics

Photo: Marian Paluszkiewicz

Lithuanian politicians frighten public opinion with a decent of Polish pseudo-fans, who became known for the riot at the stadiums in Vilnius and Kaunas.

According to Romualdas Ozolas, a signatory to the Act of March 11, the hooligans are going to support the manifestation organised by the Forum of the Parents of Polish Schools in Lithuania along with the Strike Committees  of the schools which organise a protest on March 17, one year after passing the new educational law.

Ozolas tries to convince that the anniversary of passing the law is just the cover because, as the signatory says, the Poles want to manifest on the anniversary of  an ultimatum submitted by Poles to Lithuanian in 1938. Therefore Ozolas, who is a regular participant of marches organised by young people with fascist tendencies under the banner “Lithuania for the Lithuanians!” calls the Lithuanian authorities to prohibit the Polish manifestation.

Ozolas thinks that Poles’ rally is a danger for the Lithuanian national security. Another signatory to the Act of March 11, prelate Alfonsas Svarinskas does not only call the authorities to oppose the “Polish provocation” on the anniversary of the ultimatum, but also calls the society to actively stand up to “marches with Polish flags”.

The organizers of the protest, the Forum of the Parents and the Strike Committees, call the politicians’ statements the provocation and the incitement to national feuds. They also dissociate themselves from the participants of the manifestation, who come from unorganized Polish groups. Renata Cytacka, a Strike Committees’ secretary, said to Kurier Wileński: “We organise the protest on March 17, because the new educational law passed a year ago, and not because of the historical anniversaries. Politicians’ manipulations are simply a provocation. We want to organise a democratic, peaceful protest against the law which threatens Polish education.” Cytacka informed us also that the protest is supported by Russian and Belarusian minorities, whose representatives will participate in the protest.

Renata Cytacka says that the action is also supported by Lithuanian teachers unions which announced the warning strikes in 300 Lithuanian schools at the beginning of March. Thus, the Polish protest is at the same time the protest against the pseudo reforms which the new law is said to implement.

To cut off the speculations about the anniversaries and about the “landing from Poland” during the protest on March 17, the organizers made an announcement on Wednesday. They cut off from the Ozolas and Svarinskas’ speculations and they deny the accusations about the “foreign guests” participating in the manifestation.

The march and the rally will be participated by parents, teachers and students – those who are directly affected by the new Educational Bill. The Strike Committees of Polish schools in Lithuania declare once more that nobody from foreign countries will participate in the manifestation, says the announcement of the Strike Committees.

Nevertheless, because of Ozolas and Svarinskas’ announcements, the organizers of the protest had to explain the situation in the local government which issued the permission for the protest. The organizers of the protest were summoned to appear in the local government on Wednesday at 4 p.m. There, they were “asked” to keep the public order and the set dates. Not without reason, there will be another rally, co-organised by e.g. Romuladas Ozolas, directly after the protest of Polish minority.

In Poland, on 17 March, there will be other protests sympathizing with Polish minority – in Warsaw, Szczecin, Toruń and other cities.

Lech Łuczyński, one of the organizers of protests in Poland said to “Kurier”, we want to express our solidarity with our compatriots in Lithuania, who protests against the discriminatory educational law.

Whereas Robert Winnicki from the association “Marsz Niepodległości” (“The Independence March”) said that the association organizes a trip of about 50 people, among whom one can find Polish journalists and a correspondent for “Kauno diena”.

Winnicki assures that the trip to Vilnius is not provocative.

He said, we just want to meet our compatriots in Lithuania. We make the trip participants sensitive to the fact that they are in a way diplomats.


Tłumaczenie Sylwia Janus  w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by  Sylwia Janus within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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