Warsaw: Anti-fascist blockade stopped fascists for 5 hours

Over 1,500 anti-fascists took part in an illegal blockade to prevent Polish fascists from marching in Warsaw on 11 November.

The fascists were finally able to march 5 hours later along side streets, but only thanks to the scandalous role of the police, who surrounded hundreds of fascists in a tight cordon using riot police with shields and batons, police dogs, police mounted on horses, police equipped with gas guns and armoured vehicles with water cannons.

After the inital success of blocking the fascists from marching earlier in the day, anti-fascists claimed the street, forcing through a police cordon and spontaneously marching down the same route that the fascists had planned, a busy shopping street in Warsaw. No police were in sight except for one lonely traffic cop standing in the middle of the road. With whistle in mouth, he stood bemused, looking like a human statue as over a thousand antifascists engulfed him and passed by.

However, soon we received information that the fascists had re-grouped down by the river bank, so protesters ran down for a head on confrontation. We were met by hundreds of riot police and around 700 fascists. Police allowed a number of hooligans armed with baseball bats through the cordon to attack us. There were a few injuries but soon the police separated us and this route was effectively blocked for the fascists too.

Next, more riot police and armoured vehicles approached us from behind and separated the antifascists into two groups. Police surrounded one group, containing hundreds of protesters, for around 3 hours, preventing anyone from leaving.

The police used all the resources available to break our blockade and allow the fascists to march, save using helicopter gunships against us. Thanks to this help from the police, the fascists were then able to march down some other side streets to their goal, a statue of Roman Dmowski, an inter-war Polish fascist. However, by this time it was already late evening.

Although the fascists finally marched, the blockade was a big success. Around 1,500 anti-fascists were mobilised in a united front action made up of many socialists, anarchists, and feminists. Unfortunately the trade unions failed to mobilise for the blockade, although a few workers and trade union members also took part, most notably one Solidarity member who was on the strike committee in the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk in August 1980.

In future the anti-fascist movement should attempt to reach out to workers directly with a programme to create jobs and homes, which will expose the bankruptcy of fascism and nationalism and undermine its social base.

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