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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » November 14, 2013
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Polish President offers apology to Russia over Warsaw embassy riots
November 14, 2013   
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Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski on Wednesday apologized to Russia for incidents outside its embassy in Warsaw during Monday's Independence March condemning them as "scandalous acts of hooliganism” and adding they have greatly affected Poland's image on the international stage.

During Independence Day celebrations on November 11 in Warsaw rioters set fire to a guard booth at the entrance to the Russian Embassy. They also threw firecrackers, bottles and stones on the embassy premises. The hooligans were part of a 50,000-strong Independence Day march organized by the ultra-right organizations All-Polish Youth (MW) and National-Radical Camp (ONR).

After the incident the Russian Foreign Ministry demanded an official apology as well as measures to provide for "the security and normal operation of Russian diplomatic representations in Poland".

“I need to apologize on behalf of the Polish state,” Komorowski told Radio Zet broadcaster on Wednesday calling the riots during the November 11 Independence march “an absolute scandal”. “It is our predicament that we all, the Polish state and its authorities, have to be ashamed and apologize for hooliganism, he said.

Komorowski also said the law on mass gatherings should be urgently amended to ban face masking during street demonstrations.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk had earlier apologized to Russia for the incident calling it “the inadmissible act of aggression”.

Even before Russians demanded an apology Poland's Foreign Ministry posted a statement, in Russian, on its website expressing deepest regrets for the incident outside the Russian embassy blaming it on ultra-nationalists.

"Behavior of this kind with regard to a diplomatic mission merits absolute condemnation and does not correspond to a worthy celebration of Independence Day on 11 November," the statement read.
The Ministry said it will send a diplomatic note to the Russian Federation with deep regrets for Monday's riots.

At the same time Polish Police have already detained 74 rioters, of whom two have already received three-month prison sentences.

Meanwhile, Russian police detained three men who were throwing firecrackers at the Polish embassy in Moscow on Wednesday The opposition group OtherRussia said it was intended as a tit-for-tat response to the violence at the Russian embassy in Warsaw.
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