MOSCOW/WARSAW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia demanded an official apology Tuesday from Poland after a nationalist mob attacked its embassy in Warsaw during a rampage across the city.
The Foreign Ministry in Moscow summoned Polish ambassador Wojciech Zajaczkowski on Tuesday to ask for an explanation of the events and later announced it was seeking compensation for damage sustained by the mission.
A crowd of youths attacked the embassy Monday night, setting alight the guards’ booth and clashing with police.
Russia complained that the incident had halted normal operations at the embassy for several hours.
“The attention of the ambassador has been drawn to the passivity and lateness of the police, which resulted in an unbridled rampage by roughnecks,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Monday’s disturbances came as thousands of people paraded through Warsaw on the annual Independence Day, which marks the anniversary of the reunification of Poland in 1918 after more than a century of being partitioned by Russia, Prussia and Austria.
The anniversary marches have in recent years drawn disruptive elements, such as fringe nationalist groups and football hooligans.
Trouble started Monday when a group of mainly young people splintered away from the route previously approved by the Warsaw city government.
A mob poured into squats occupied by left-wing and anti-fascist activists, forcing police to intervene to break up the fighting and detain several people.
Reuters news agency said several cars were torched as police dispersed rioters using rubber bullets.
Young people with their faces covered later attacked a recently reconstructed rainbow monument erected in support of the gay community.
As a crowd approached the Russian Embassy, police called on women and children to leave the area, before deploying tear gas and water cannons.
Still, a group of rioters approached the embassy, which is situated about 200 meters from President Bronislaw Komorowski’s residence.
In the fighting between rioters and police that ensued, the embassy gates and a sentry post were set on fire.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk expressed his dismay over the unrest, saying it had brought shame on the country.
“The events of this evening are very sad for Poland. This was an unacceptable act of aggression against police guarding the Russian Embassy and toward the embassy itself. I express my sympathies,” Tusk said.
Police have detained around 54 people in connection with the disorder and 14 people were hospitalized.
(Changes headline, updates with Foreign Ministry statement, new lede.)