Dozens March in Polish City Protesting Against anti-Semitism

Protesting against anti-Semitic events that had recently plagued the state, the citizens of Bialystok walked the streets of their city in silence gathering signatures for an end to a 'wave of thoughtless hatred'.

The Associated Press
The Associated Press
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The Associated Press
The Associated Press

More than 100 people marched in a Polish city on Sunday to protest racist and anti-Semitic attacks in the area.

A small counter-demonstration also was held by people chanting nationalist slogans in the eastern city of Bialystok.

The "March of Unity," which was organized by lawmakers from the governing Civic Platform party, walked in silence from the city center to a monument of Ludwik Zamenhof, a Jewish doctor born in Bialystok, who invented the Esperanto language. The protesters gathered signatures under a manifesto calling for an end to a "wave of thoughtless hatred."

On Wednesday, a monument to hundreds of Jews who were burned alive by their Polish neighbors in Jedwabne village during World War II was desecrated. Vandals used green paint to spray a swastika and "SS" the name of special Nazi German force on the monument, along with the hostile phrases of "I don't apologize for Jedwabne" and "They were flammable."

Other recent anti-Semitic or racist attacks in Poland have targeted a synagogue in the village of Orla, a Muslim center in Bialystok, and the Lithuanian minority in the Punsk region.

Bialystok Mayor Tadeusz Truskolaski, nonaligned Sen. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz and other lawmakers led the protest march.

It occurred without violence or arrests, despite the counter-demonstration.

The vandalized monument in Jedwabne, Poland.Credit: AP