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Xenophobic Riots in Poland

Demonstrators chant “God, Honor, Homeland” and “Stop Islamization” in a xenophobic rally in Poland  in Nov. 2015. (File Photo) Demonstrators chant “God, Honor, Homeland” and “Stop Islamization” in a xenophobic rally in Poland  in Nov. 2015. (File Photo)

At least 25 people were detained in the Polish town of Elk on Sunday after they smashed up a kebab diner and clashed with police, throwing firecrackers and stones.

Up to 300 people took part in a rally after a Pole was allegedly killed by men of Arab descent.

Under an investigation launched by police, four people were arrested. Although police have not officially revealed the nationality of the suspects, Polish media reported they were two Algerians, a Tunisian and a Moroccan, Russia Today reported.

All the suspects are said to be have been working at the vandalized diner, which is owned by a local entrepreneur.

Speaking about the incentive to join the demonstration, one of the locals said he “does not feel safe in the city” and after the New Year’s Eve event “has an aversion to foreigners”.

Shortly after the gathering turned violent, some people started to hurl stones and firecrackers at the building, smashed its windows, broke into the premises and destroyed the cafe’s property. As the police tried to calm down the protesters, they turned on officers, showering police cars with firecrackers, bottles and stones.  

“In the crowd, numbering between 200 and 300 people, dozens were behaving aggressively,” police spokesman Rafal Jackowski said, as cited by TVP.info.

Upon wreaking havoc on the diner, the mob reportedly vandalized another restaurant, said to be run by the same people, Elk Councilor Michael Tyszkiewicz told PAP.

Jackowski said 25 participants of the rally were detained by police and may face charges for inflicting damage to property and disrupting public order.

Elk Mayor Tomasz Andrukiewicz called on citizens to not incite hatred and respect the grief of the deceased Polish man’s family.

It is feared an incident in Elk could set off a wave of similar attacks against foreign businesses, fueled by nationalistic sentiments.

Before midnight on Saturday, vandals daubed anti-Muslim graffiti on a Superkebab shop in the city of Lublin, which is owned by Indian citizens.

Police have opened an investigation into the incident. If charged with inciting hatred, the perpetrators face up to two years behind bars.

 

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