Fact Check: Warsaw Rally On October 1, 2023, NOT Held To Demand End To Aid To Ukraine

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Warsaw Rally On October 1, 2023, NOT Held To Demand End To Aid To Ukraine Campaign Rally

Was the primary objective of the protesters at the October 1, 2023, rally in Warsaw to demand a cessation of aid to Ukraine? No, that's not true: The rally aimed to boost support for the opposition Civic Platform party and address concerns about rising costs and democratic checks. Warsaw city authorities reported that around a million people attended an opposition rally in Warsaw on that day, ahead of the October 15, 2023, parliamentary election.

The claim appeared in a video on the TikTok account @sotniktiktok (archived here) on October 2, 2023.

The Russian text shown in the video (Russian translated to English by Lead Stories staff) states:

Protest of 'Million Hearts' in Warsaw. The opposition leader, Donald Tusk, gathered over 800,000 people for a protest march against the current government. People are demanding peace and a cessation of aid to Ukraine.

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-10-04 at 13.23.08.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Oct 4 12:23:23 2023 UTC)

Warsaw city authorities reported approximately one million protesters at the opposition rally held two weeks before the country's parliamentary election on October 15, 2023. There are no credible reports indicating that protesters at the October 1, 2023, rally were primarily advocating for a halt to aid for the Ukrainian war effort. A search for the phrase "October 1 rally, protesters in Poland demand a cessation of aid to Ukraine" (archived here), conducted on October 5, 2023, using Google News' index of thousands of credible news sites, did not yield any substantiated reports supporting this claim.

The leaders of Poland's opposition Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO) party aimed to leverage the protest to gain momentum ahead of the October 15, 2023, vote. Their objectives included regaining political control from the conservative Law and Justice (Polish: Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) party, which has held power since 2015, and addressing public concerns over rising living costs and the erosion of democratic checks and balances.

The Polish election set the nationalist PiS against the liberal, pro-Europe PO led by former Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The PiS has promoted a culturally right-leaning, nationalist and Catholic image, with notable opposition to the LGBTQ+ community and migrants. Poland's strict anti-abortion laws and a previous high court ruling subordinating European Union rules to Polish law have defined recent political developments. Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski expressed hope that the October 1, 2023, gathering would signal a shift towards a more tolerant, diverse, European and optimistic Poland, as millions unite with determination for the future:

We are moving full of courage and determination towards the future, towards a Poland that is tolerant, diverse, European, and smiling.

In early July 2023, a pro-Russian protest did take place in Warsaw, where several hundred supporters from different pro-Russian groups gathered outside the Ukrainian embassy, advocating for an end to support for Ukraine.

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