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Report from 11 November rallies

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights prepared a report from the rallies held on 11 November.

The document is based on the accounts of Foundation’s 31 independent observers who monitored the following public gatherings: the March of the 11 November Alliance (at the request of the Chief Commissioner of the Warsaw Police and Rafał Zieleniewski of the 11 November Alliance Demonstration Group), the Independence March (at the request of the Chief Commissioner of the Warsaw Police), the March organised by President Bronisław Komorowski (at HFHR’s own initiative).

In the opinion of the HFHR, the law enforcement agencies that secured the march of President Bronisław Komorowski and the March of the 11 November Alliance took adequate and proportional measures.

What is controversial is the number of officers deployed to secure the rallies on the stretch from Charles de Gaulle roundabout to the Castle Square.

According to the Foundation, insufficient forces were sent to directly escort the Independence March. Crowd-management Police units deployed in clusters, even if sufficient in terms of numbers, are never as effective as mobile formations accompanying the rally.

The HFHR noted the difference between the tactics employed to secure the 11 November Alliance and the Independence March. In the case of the former, the Police deployed units to directly escort the marchers, following the example of many other gatherings held recently in Warsaw including the march of Russian football fans to the National Stadium during the Euro 2012 Football Championships. However, the Independence March didn’t have such escort. The HFHR recommends to develop a minimum standard for policing public gatherings. This minimum level of protection should be supplemented with additional security measures applied in reasonable cases, based on operational intelligence or the security track record of a given organiser’s manifestations.

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