EFAy attended the 6th March for Autonomy in Silesia

EFAy’s Secretary General participated in the 6th edition of the March for Autonomy that took place yesterday in Katowice, Silesia. The March is organized on an annual basis by the Ruch Autonomii Śląska, member  of the European Free Alliance, with the aim to commemorate the anniversary of granting autonomous powers to Silesia by the Polish Parliament, with a law enacted on the 15th July 1920. The autonomous status of Silesia, in its original form, stayed intact until 1926, after which there were  series of attempts by the Central State to limit its powers.
This year’s March was attended by several thousand people coming not only from Silesia but also from other regions in Europe who are struggling for more autonomy or independence, such as Flanders, Catalonia, the Basque Country, etc. EFAy’s Secretary General took party in the ceremony of carrying a 100m long and 3m wide Silesian flag, the biggest flag in the history of the March.
Shortly after 12pm, the marchers carrying the gigantic yellow-blue Silesian flag ,  accompanied by a band playing traditional Silesian songs, started walking from the Freedom Square, passed through numerous Katowice streets and arrived at their destination, the Silesian Parliament Square.  During the entire afternoon and evening, the Parliament Square was the scene of folk, blues, rock and metal music concerts performed by various Silesian bands. There were also plenty of stands selling traditional Silesian souvenirs and delicious local food and beer.
While the March was taking place, at the Miarki Square there was a small group of counter-protesters, belonging to the League for Defending Sovereignty and the National Polish Revival, who were chanting slogans against Silesian autonomy.
EFAy’s Secretary General had  the opportunity to meet with Jerzy Gorzelik, the leader of RAS, as well as with numerous young RAS activists who introduced her to the history of the region and their quest for more autonomy.  Kris Duda, a young member of RAS, talked about Silesian patriotism with a lot of enthusiasm:
“Regionalism and regional autonomy are elements of the patriotism of tomorrow. They give an alternative to the out of date nationalism of the XIX century, which in Poland was built on the cruel history of the state being split under occupation for over 123 years and on thousands of victims killed in Polish uprisings.
The Silesian patriotism brings a fresh and positive perspective. It’s a fundament of a modern and mature state based on a civil society, which no longer needs to hunt down enemies, but trusts its citizens. It’s a symbol of a state built on civil freedom, awareness and common sense.”