A Public Protest to “Cancel the Pandemic”

Warsaw 17.08.2020

By Massimo Usai

Yesterday the day looks beautiful from the early morning.

It was chilly last night, so I was able to rest well.

While I was having my coffee, I saw a post on Facebook that said that at 12.00, in the main square of Warsaw, there would be a demonstration “against the virus“.

About 15,000 people had shown interest and promised to be there.

The opportunity is good to take a series of photos, in political demonstrations, there is always exciting material for us photographers in this kind of events..

So I loaded some batteries and prepared the camera and a set of few lenses for the occasion.

Twenty minutes before the demonstration, I was there.

Not even a hundred people were there. 

Around the group that proudly displays slogans against the Virus, at least 200/300 other tourists around looking for a place to eat and at least 300 policemen with about twenty cars to escort and protect the demonstrators.

At 12.00 on time, the demonstration begins, there will be perhaps 300 people, probably 400 around 1.30pm.

The local police understands that either if 15,000 fierce on social media, just show up and begin to leave slowly, leaving perhaps no more than 30/40 people on duty.

The few policemen lefts on the square start to be bored and perhaps wondering what the hell they do there.

I spend an hour and a half in the square, I took more ‘photos of the city’ than of the demonstrators. The sun was amazing. 

At one point a gentleman in his 50s approaches me and passes me a flyer where it says “Help us stop Covid-19“.

I can’t resist, and I tell him that “I would be happy, but I’m not a scientist or a doctor”. At that point he replies that “united we can stop COVID”, to which I reply that “I am sure that you and I together can at most have a coffee, certainly not stop the Covid-19.”

He opens a small discussion, and despite his English was excellent, he decides to give up and move on to other people present in the square to stop COVID.

I must admit that I have not seen many scientists and doctors, perhaps seriously engaged in the battle to stop COVID.

Even if “the man ‘intended to prevent it in another way (I suspect) but I gave up on overthinking the matter.

The (small) group of demonstrators in the square had some well-defined characteristics: some groups of vegans who insisted that “not eating meat does not create viruses” (no kidding, I read this thing and I’m sure all of you have see or read this words !), and a series of disreputable types, who in the absence of the football championship, have left the role of Ultras to deal with Science.

At the head of all this is the country’s ultra-right press, the most nationalist politicians that Poland produces and a flood of Polish flags that clearly distinguish the political direction and thought of the protest.

The attack that surprises me most is against the Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, accused of being a Bolshevik!

Funny, who accused him of this were “two far-right MPs” who support the controversial PiS government in Poland.

Indeed, many of those people in the square who sang these things against the Mayor, should seriously look in the mirror intensely and ask themselves to what extent they are seriously progressive as they often profess on social networks by putting links of exploited children in Asia or others who they have no food in Africa and then support a protest with clear the print of the worst Right-Wing in Europe at the moment.

At a certain point, a chorus in French starts: “Liberte””, repeated as it is done in stadiums, same tone, same cadence.

Ironically, you ask “Freedom“, when you are in a square with a demonstration protected by the police which cost the community a lot of money and if this is not “freedom” to demonstrate, what would it be? Or they intended with “Liberte'” to oppose official Science just because something was publish on Social Network and “you believe” like someone believe in God ?

We cancel the pandemic” was the slogan.

Honestly, I only saw people who will come back tomorrow “in the ranks“, who may even have a good job in life, but none of them can cancel the Pandemic.

For do it that we need scientists and listen to them carefully, maybe paying attention to them, perhaps, I say, we can seriously all together defeat this Virus.

And this is the only point the connect me to them. The hope to stop the Virus to be dangerous.

This story, in the end, shows again that so many people could be so incredibly loud on Social network, but in reality, they are a tiny minority.

Update) in the evening, in a post on Facebook, one of the main organizers of the event thanked “the 25,000 people who demonstrated”. Yes, you read that correctly!
They claim to have been 25,000. This is how the right acts to try to gain consent: with huge lies.

But in reality, the facts are what they are. Few hundred people, maybe 1,000 at the very late stage of the protest

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