Several thousand people reportedly gathered in Warsaw on Wednesday to mark Poland’s Independence Day, with clashes breaking out between some of those assembled and riot police. Several officers were injured, Warsaw police said.
Footage captured during the march, which was held despite Covid restrictions, showed people throwing barriers aside and launching projectiles at riot police, who in turn reportedly used tear gas and rubber bullets.
One of the rubber bullets reportedly struck 74-year-old photojournalist, Tomasz Gutry, in the face, with pictures published by local media showing a bleeding gash below his left eye.
Footage posted online also showed marchers crossing the central Poniatowski Bridge, where fireworks were let off at a building displaying LGBT and Women’s March flags, and one apartment caught fire.
No one was injured in the blaze, which local firefighters confirmed was caused by a firework, as they appealed for “common sense” from march participants.
Other videos apparently showed police beating people with batons and using stun grenades, as dozens of officers marched up the steps of the Warszawa Stadion railway station.
Police confirmed that “several” officers were injured in Wednesday’s events.
Some of those marching also blocked roads near Warsaw’s National Stadium where a temporary hospital for Covid-19 patients had been set up, police said. A police spokesperson said that officers “acted strongly to clear roads blocked by hooligans” in order to let ambulances carrying respirators past.
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