On Wednesday, November 11, Poland will celebrate its national Independence Day and mass gatherings and demonstrations are possible in cities across the country, despite official coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions currently imposed. In Warsaw, an Independence March has been scheduled at 14:00 (local time) from Rondo Romana Dmowskiego towards the national PGE Narodowy stadium. The march is expected to be well-attended; in 2019 it attracted approximately 50,000 people. Nationalist activists are also planning a vehicle procession to and from the Romana Dmowskiego roundabout to the Waszyngtona roundabout between 14:00 and 16:00. Counter-demonstrations by anti-fascist activists are possible and will likely be held in the vicinity of nationalist gatherings. Further gatherings, both planned and spontaneous, remain possible nationwide.
A heightened security presence is to be expected near any events and protest sites. Authorities have banned the nationalist march in Warsaw, and police are likely to attempt to disperse all gatherings which breach COVID-19 restrictions. Clashes between rival protest groups and with security forces are possible. Localized disruptions to business and travel, including road closures, should be anticipated.
Though National Independence Day events are expected to remain largely peaceful and celebratory, travelers should expect localized overland travel disruption. Any events which are of a more political rather than celebratory nature should be avoided. Travelers should remain vigilant in the vicinity of large crowds due to the potential for opportunistic crime and exposure to crowd disturbances. Monitor local media reports for updates on road closures, service disruption, and on related events occurring in your particular area of operations.
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