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On Wednesday evening, reports about groups of masked thugs assaulting protesters in the streets of Polish cities began to flow in from different parts of the country. That has been the case in Wrocław, Poznań, and perhaps also other places we haven’t heard of yet. Many of the attackers were armed with bats, knives, and pepper spray.

It looks like the Polish (anti-Polish, if we want to be precise) government has finally got its own “titushky”. If you are not familiar with this term, let me explain: “titushky” were the pro-government thugs attacking the protesters during the Euromaidan demonstrations in Ukraine.

These pro-government thugs assaulted peaceful protesters the day after Jarosław Kaczyński urged his followers to defend the allegedly attacked churches. But let us call things what they are: the leader of the ruling party gave hooligans a green light to hunt down government opponents. Such acts were unseen in Western Europe, to which Poland still aspires, since the German Third Reich.

And yet, what happened is hardly a surprise. Those of us paying close attention to the government’s policy towards nationalist-hooligan circles after 2015 know perfectly well that members of the ruling camp, especially Zbigniew Ziobro, have been raising their future titushky squadrons. A symbolic gesture in this regard is the fact that in March 2016, soon after taking office, Zbigniew Ziobro, the Minister of Justice, waived the penalty of Marcin Falkowski, a nationalist sentenced to six months in prison for beating a police officer during a demonstration.

A video recorded in 2017 by two widely recognized anti-Semitic and nationalist figures is another example of how the government has spread its protective arm around far-right circles. In it, the former priest Jacek Międlar and a man who became known for publicly burning a Jewish-looking effigy, Piotr Rybak, raise a toast to Zbigniew Ziobro.

Thus, Ziobro and Kaczyński have been looking after their pet titushky for years, and ever since the Law and Justice party came to power, Polish nationalists have enjoyed the protection of the government. Today, Kaczyński let these aggressive thugs off the leash and set them against Polish citizens.

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