City backs march by Russia fans to Poland game
Warsaw city officials said Friday they will grant an informal request by Russia fans for ''assistance'' during a planned march to the team's Euro 2012 game against co-host Poland on Russia's national holiday next week.
Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she has received a letter from Russian fans who want to march from the city to the National Stadium for Tuesday's match in Group A.
Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she will meet their representatives on Saturday to discuss how to best meet the fans' request.
Ewa Gawor, head of the city's security forces, said the letter asked for ''assistance while Russian fans with tickets walk to the National Stadium.''
Without specifying the kind of assistance, Gawor said:''We will grant that request.''
The fans said in the letter that it was their tradition to hold marches during Euro games, Gawor said.
Emotions are expected to run high during the match, and not only because of the sporting stakes.
Poland and Russia have a long history of troubled relations, including four decades of Soviet Union dominance under communism that was overthrown in Poland in 1989.
However, June 12 marks the day in 1990 when Russian lawmakers declared independence from the Soviet Union, by giving supremacy to Russian laws over the Soviet legislation.
Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Thursday he would encourage Poles to march together with the Russians, to celebrate the day that ''finally buried the Soviet Union.''