Poland: Solidarity march with Muslims planned in Elk after xenophobic unrest continues
In the Polish town of Elk, anti-foreigner unrest has been continuing after the death on New Year's Eve of a young Polish man during a scuffle with the employees of a kebab restaurant there. Police have already arrested at least 24 local residents and charged most of them with disturbing the peace.
According to Czech Radio, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak rejects allegations that the unrest is racially motivated, but the information has been confirmed that there has been an attempt to commit arson against an apartment that one of the Muslim employees of the restaurant is renting. Four employees of the restarant have been arrested and two of them have since been released, but police are providing them with protection out of concern for their safety.
The unrest began on Monday after a 21-year-old identified by the Polish press only as "Daniel" died. The youth allegedly attempted to take two bottles away from the restaurant's bar without paying for them; it is not clear whether the bottles contained alcohol.
A scuffle ensued between an employee of the restaurant who is of Tunisian origin and Daniel, during which the Polish man was stabbed and died. Hundreds of people assembled outside the business the next day to protest.
Those assembled busted in the front window of the restaurant and threw firecrackers through it. Local Catholic Bishop Jerzy Mazur called for calm during Tuesday's requiem mass.
People have been expressing their support for the Muslim owners of the restaurant through online social networking sites. The Center for Monitoring Nationalism is planning a march to show solidarity with the Muslims on Friday evening.
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