WARSAW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) – Nationalist youths in the Polish capital attacked the Russian Embassy on Monday night, setting alight the guards’ booth and clashing with police.
The disturbances came as thousands of people paraded through Warsaw on the annual Independence Day, which marks the anniversary of the reunification of Poland in 1918 after more than a century of being partitioned by Russia, Prussia and Austria.
The anniversary marches have in recent years drawn disruptive elements, such as fringe nationalist groups and football hooligans.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Polish ambassador in Moscow on Tuesday over the attack on the embassy.
Trouble started Monday when a group of mainly young people splintered away from the route previously approved by the Warsaw city government.
A mob poured into squats occupied by left-wing and anti-fascist activists, forcing police to intervene to break up the fighting and detain several people.
Reuters news agency said several cars were torched as police dispersed rioters using rubber bullets.
Young people with their faces covered later attacked a recently reconstructed rainbow monument erected in support of the gay community.
As a crowd approached the Russian Embassy, police called on women and children to leave the area, before deploying tear gas and water cannons.
Still, a group of rioters approached the embassy, which is situated about 200 meters from President Bronislaw Komorowski’s residence.
In the fighting between rioters and police that ensued, the embassy gates and a sentry post were set on fire.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk expressed his dismay over the unrest, saying it had brought shame on the country.
“The events of this evening are very sad for Poland. This was an unacceptable act of aggression against police guarding the Russian Embassy and toward the embassy itself. I express my sympathies,” Tusk said.
Police have detained around 54 people in connection with the disorder and 14 people were hospitalized.