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Poland independence day marred by controversy

CNN logo CNN 11/9/2018 By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Demonstrators burn flares and wave Polish flags during the annual march to commemorate Poland's National Independence Day in Warsaw on November 11, 2017. Poland's National Independence Day commemorates the anniversary of the Restoration of a Polish State in 1918. / AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrators burn flares and wave Polish flags during the annual march to commemorate Poland's National Independence Day in Warsaw on November 11, 2017. Poland's National Independence Day commemorates the anniversary of the Restoration of a Polish State in 1918. / AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
© JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Poland marks 100 years of independence on Sunday, at the same time as the centenary of the armistice that ended World War I is commemorated around Europe.

The occasion should be one for celebration in Poland. But controversy and confusion over a planned far-right independence march in the capital Warsaw has overshadowed preparations.

A court in Warsaw on Thursday overturned a decision by the city's mayor to ban the march over security concerns after the organizers appealed, according to Reuters.

Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz had declared Wednesday that the march should not go ahead because Warsaw had "suffered enough due to aggressive nationalism," the news agency said.

Hours after she announced the ban, Poland's President and Prime Minister said the government would stage its own march Sunday along the same route and at the same time as the planned far-right march, Reuters said.

It's now unclear what will happen on Sunday.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday called on Twitter for marchers to unite under Poland's red and white flag to celebrate the centenary.

Last year, ultra nationalists and fascist groups disrupted the main independence day march in Warsaw.

One of the lead organizations involved in the march was the National Radical Camp, which had previously taken to the streets to protest against Muslim immigration, gay rights, the European Union and anything it considers undermines Polish Catholic values.

The day celebrates the rebirth of Poland in November 1918, 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg and Russian empires carved up Poland among themselves and erased it from the map of Europe.

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