WARSAW (JTA) — A silent "March of Unity" was held in the Polish city of Bialystok to protest recent anti-Semitic and racist incidents in eastern Poland.
Bialystok’s mayor and several members of parliament were among the participants in Sunday’s march, which was organized by officials of the governing Civic Platform party.
The Polish news agency PAP said that about 130 people took part in the march, which was staged to protest recent incidents that included the defacement last week of the monument in nearby Jedwabne to the hundreds of Jews killed there in 1941 when their Polish neighbors herded them into a barn and set it alight.
Carrying orange roses and ribbons, the marchers walked in silence to the downtown monument to Ludwig Zamenhof, a Jew from Bialystok who invented the Esperanto language, and gathered signatures for a "manifesto of unity and tolerance" against a wave of "mindless hatred."
PAP reported that about 30 far-right protesters shouted racist and nationalistic slogans in an attempt to disrupt the march.
Also Sunday, several dozen people gathered at the monument in Jedwabne for a ceremony organized by the Polish Jewish community. Polish media said no local officials took part in the ceremony.