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Nationalists force closure of restaurant for Ukrainian refugees in Poland

Nationalists force closure of restaurant for Ukrainian refugees in Poland
As Poland’s Independence Day celebrations approach, story of nationalists threatening Ukrainian volunteers is stark reminder of historical grievances unresolved in this part of world

By Jo Harper

WARSAW (AA) – Online and physical intimidation by far-right Polish nationalists has forced the closure of a restaurant for Ukrainian refugees in Krakow, southern Poland.

Afghan refugee Harry Parwani said his restaurant in the Zablocie area was due to open on Nov. 10, the day before Poland celebrates National Independence Day. In recent years, the Independence Day March has attracted tens of thousands of participants led by far-right extremists.

Parwani’s charitable catering company set up a portable kitchen to help provide free food for up to 8,000 people a day at the Ukrainian border in Korczowa in March, soon after Russia’s war on Ukraine started on Feb. 24.

Since the war started, over 7,000 million people have arrived in Poland from Ukraine, according to the Border Guard.

“We wanted to help more, to give Ukrainians jobs, income, and some security,” Parwani told Anadolu Agency. “We have received hundreds of death threats, online and in person. We don’t want to fight an ideological war,” he added.

Parwani’s charity is called “Czerwona Kalina,” which set up a portable kitchen. The restaurant’s name was changed to “Ukrainian Restaurant” after the online attacks, but it failed to stop the abuse.

Czerwona Kalina is seen by some Polish nationalists as being associated with Ukrainian wartime nationalist leader, Stepan Bandera.

“People accused us of supporting Bandera. I didn’t even know who he was,” Parwani said.

Between 1943 and 1945, Ukrainian nationalists attacked Polish towns and villages in Wolyn, a Nazi-occupied region of southeastern Poland and now part of Ukraine, killing about 100,000 Polish people. It was initiated and directed by radical Ukrainian nationalist Bandera and his Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

In March, police in Poland warned that fake reports of violent crimes being committed by people fleeing Ukraine were circulating on social media after Polish nationalists attacked and abused groups of African, South Asian and Middle Eastern people who had crossed the border.

“I was at the police and they are not taking this seriously. They told me to wait for a letter from them, but they will not add any extra patrols to safeguard the restaurant,” Parwani said.

source: News Feed
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