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FLASH ALERT: HIGH RISK OF VIOLENCE DURING WARSAW INDEPENDENCE MARCH AND PROTESTS AGAINST MIGRANTS

Updated: Nov 21

Team: Austin Straniere, Federica Calissano, Martyna Dobrowolska, Casey Mager, Iris Raith, Zarah Sheikh, EUCOM Team

Jason Bratcher, Sachin Khunte, Carlos Hochberger, Editors; Cassandra Townsend, Senior Editor

Week of: Monday, November 8, 2021


Activists marching during Poland Independence Day rally[1]


The Counterterrorism Group’s (CTG) EUCOM Team is issuing a FLASH ALERT for the general public, law enforcement, and security forces across Poland, given the annual Warsaw’s Independence March (also referred to as Poland Independence Day rally), Europe’s largest far-right rally, is taking place on November 11, 2021. The march in Warsaw is VERY LIKELY to end in violent clashes between nationalists and anti-fascist groups, as well as between the participants and police. Additional concerning gatherings are LIKELY to occur in the Northeastern border regions of Poland, where a surge of violent protests and aggressive behaviors towards migrants and minorities from Belarus is VERY LIKELY.


CTG is on HIGH alert due to the upcoming Warsaw’s Independence March and the potential for violent clashes between opposing groups and migrants. Individuals are advised to practice extra caution, remain vigilant, and should leave affected public spaces where protests are occurring at the first sign of escalation.

On Monday, November 8, 2021, thousands of migrants massed on the Belarus-Poland border and attempted to forcefully enter Poland through the barbed-wire border fence.[2] This marked a critical escalation in the migrant crisis and the European Union (EU) accused Belarus of weaponizing migration by helping migrants cross the borders into neighboring EU states, allegedly in response to EU sanctions imposed against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for his government’s human rights violations.[3] It is very likely that hundreds of migrants will continue to attempt to cross the border, likely resulting in a confrontation with more than 12,000 Polish security forces,[4] signifying an increase from the typical Polish security force presence at the Poland-Belarus border.[5]

Amid the migrant crisis and the Mayor of Warsaw banning the event, the organizers of Warsaw’s Independence March have claimed they will rally on Thursday, November 11, 2021.[6] Past marches have been characterized by clashes between nationalists and liberals, and violence against the police and civilians.[7] At the 2017 and 2020 rally, far-right demonstrators expressed violent tendencies towards minority groups, throwing flares at a building with LGBT flags and chanting racist slogans such as “Pure Poland, White Poland!” and “Refugees Get Out!”[8] Anti-migration protests by far-right activists will very likely increase amid the recent escalation of the migrant crisis at the Polish border. Far-right activists will very likely incite violence towards the anti-fascist groups, such as “14 kobiet z mostu,” who claimed it will try to stop the march from happening; this will likely result in a physically-aggressive conflict towards refugees and minorities.

This year, Warsaw’s Independence March requires special attention as it will very likely take place despite the Polish court's decision to uphold the ban of the rally.[9] In addition, anti-fascist groups obtained the legal right to use the same route as the Warsaw Independence March’s planned route; the march will very likely result in violence since opposing parties will be marching together.[10] Individuals from far-right, nationalist, and anti-fascist groups will very likely verbally express their opposing ideas at the rally on topics such as migration, gender equality, and abortion. Escalating violence will likely gain more international attention as groups will likely gain support through social media, increasing international attention which will likely further polarize both the far-right and anti-fascist groups. If violent clashes occur, Polish law enforcement officers are very likely to intervene to prevent increases in violence, likely becoming targets of violence themselves. Law enforcement and security officials will likely physically block and arrest protesters, who may react violently to this response from the police.

Tensions on the Poland-Belarus border will very likely increase as the number of migrants at the border increases. Frontex, the EU border patrol force, in conjunction with Polish law enforcement, will likely attempt to prevent migrants from entering Poland through the border fence. This will likely lead to violent confrontations between border forces and migrants. There is a roughly even chance that far-right activists will unite in solidarity with Polish law enforcement at the Poland-Belarusian border, likely supporting border forces preventing migrants from entering Poland. Frontex and Polish border forces should be on high alert for any signs of escalation with migrants.

CTG’s EUCOM Team assesses that the threat of aggressive protests and violent clashes during Thursday’s march is HIGH. The EUCOM Team recommends that European governments, Polish law enforcement, and EU security forces remain vigilant and strengthen security at the Poland-Belarus border. Given last year’s clashes between protesters and the police, the risk of violence by far-right groups during Thursday’s demonstrations is HIGH. Members of the public should avoid traveling to affected areas as the threat of violence is HIGH. Polish law enforcement should increase its presence in the center of Warsaw, where the scheduled demonstrations are set to occur, and remain vigilant throughout the day. With heightened tensions at the border with Belarus, it is very likely that the number of individuals who sympathize with far-right and nationalist ideologies will rise during the protests. Polish border patrols should remain vigilant in the critical areas along the border and ask for assistance from Frontex. Since social media is used for organizing events and sharing information about these events, Polish cybersecurity units need to expand their observation of far-right groups by including support from private security companies or social media firms. The EUCOM Team advises EU governments to monitor the rhetoric of the Polish government towards far-right and nationalist groups due to the nationalist composition of the present government.


The EUCOM Team at CTG continues to monitor and analyze Polish far-right activities on social media, such as planned events and actions for Thursday through the Worldwide Analysis of Terrorism, Crime, and Hazards (W.A.T.C.H.). CTG continuously tracks all violent events to provide current fact-based analysis. Furthermore, the team continues to report violent situations and encounters across Europe, especially in Poland that has the potential to create further instability that can be taken advantage of by far-right or anti-fascist groups.


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) has become the global leader in proactively fighting terrorist organizations around the world. CTG specializes in intelligence collection, and analysis, as well as investigative work to counterterrorism. CTG resources are delivered to advise clients on a business resilience process using current threat intelligence data. We scan for threats across the following regions; Africa, Central Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Asia-Pacific. Our organization assesses evolving threats through, Worldwide Analysis of Terrorism, Crime, and Hazards (W.A.T.C.H.) services. Our W.A.T.C.H Officers and Digital Targeters monitor the threat posed by cyber threats, insider threats, fraud, espionage, hazards, reputational damages, violent crime, kidnappings, and bombing threats. To find out more about our products and W.A.T.C.H. services visit us at counterterrorismgroup.com.


[1] “Independence Day Poland” by Maja Ruszpel licensed under Public Domain

[2] Poland warns of further large migrant clashes on Belarus border, Reuters, November 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/poland-fears-major-incident-migrants-belarus-head-border-2021-11-08/

[3] EU to keep fighting Belarus’s “weaponization” of migrants, AP News, October 2021, https://apnews.com/article/immigration-middle-east-poland-migration-belarus-79b070bf8899e393f21d9a6fa1450919

[4] Poland warns of further large migrant clashes on Belarus border, Reuters, November 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/poland-fears-major-incident-migrants-belarus-head-border-2021-11-08/

[5] Poland doubles troop numbers on Belarus border, EUObserver, October 2021, https://euobserver.com/migration/153277,

[6] Polish far-right say they will march on Independence Day despite ban, Euronews, October 2021, https://www.euronews.com/2021/10/30/us-poland-independence-march

[7] Clashes, arson and use of force by police against journalists at Polish Independence March, Notes from Poland, November 2020, https://notesfrompoland.com/2020/11/11/clashes-arson-and-use-of-force-by-police-against-journalists-at-polish-independence-march/

[8] Poland and the Uncontrollable Fury of Europe's Far Right, The Atlantic, November 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/11/europe-far-right-populist-nazi-poland/524559/

[9] Polish independence march banned by court over far-right violence, Euronews, October 2021, https://www.euronews.com/2021/10/27/polish-independence-march-banned-by-court-over-far-right-violence

[10] Warsaw’s nationalist Independence March in doubt after courts give anti-fascist event right to route, Notes from Poland, October 2021, https://notesfrompoland.com/2021/10/31/warsaws-nationalist-independence-march-in-doubt-after-courts-give-anti-fascist-event-precedence/

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