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Polish forces use water cannons on migrants at Belarusian border

Nov 17, 2021


Polish forces responded to accusations that Belarusian authorities gave smoke grenades and other weapons to migrants trying to cross the border between the two countries by unleashing water cannons and tear gas on the migrants Tuesday. The video above shows the scene from the border.

“Polish services have been attacked by a group of approximately 100 illegal migrants. There are about 2,000 foreigners in this place, but the 100-person group is the most aggressive,” Polish Border Guard spokesperson Anna Michalska said Tuesday. “Stones are thrown towards the Polish services, flash grenades are probably thrown, which, fortunately, do not reach the Polish side. As far as I know, one of the policemen was hit with a stone in the face, he is being helped.” Polish authorities later reported nine of its forces were injured — seven policemen, one soldier and a female border guard.

On Wednesday, Polish deputy interior minister Maciej Wasik said Belarusian officials were taking the migrants away from the border. However, Michalska said some of the migrants were seen taking wooden logs with them. This could mean they are being moved to another spot along the border.

The Polish-Belarusian border also serves as part of the European Union’s eastern border. The EU has accused Belarus of using the migrants as pawns to destabilize the EU in retaliation for sanctions it has placed on Belarus.

“What we see, and what is available to be seen, is extremely problematic. We see suffering,” European Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović said during a Tuesday visit to the Polish-Belarusian border. “Of course it is highly political, this sensitive situation, but at the same time we need to look at human dignity, human rights and international law.”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has denied engineering the Polish border crisis and did so again Tuesday. President Lukashenko noted his government has deported about 5,000 illegal migrants from Belarus this fall.

“We’re not collecting refugees all over the world and bringing them to Belarus, as Poland has informed the European Union,” Lukashenko said at a government meeting dedicated to the situation at the border. “Those who come to Belarus legally, we accept here, the same way any other country would. Those who violate the law, even in the slightest, [we put] on a plane and send back [home].”