It was this afternoon at 13:30, a man set himself on fire in front of the Sejm, before the drama, known as Mieczysław P., he asked the journalist nearby if they were involved in investigative journalism. Then he started shouting “There is no justice in this country” and set himself on fire. Witnessing the scene the police immediately extinguished the fire, gave the first help before the rescuer’s arrival. The 48 years old man will survive.
– 3 similar events occurred in the modern history of Poland –
On October, 17th, 2017, chemistry, Piotr Szczęsny, died after setting himself on fire in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in the Plac Defilad. He wanted to protest against the politics of the PIS and the government.
On March 21st, 1980, Walenty Badylak committed suicide by self-immolation in the Kraków marketplace protesting against the silence of the Katyn massacre by the authorities. The authorities qualified his death as the death of a mentally ill pensioner. Despite it, the place was full of candles and flowers and people sang religious songs.
Another horrible event occurred on September 8th, 1968. Ryszard Siwiec a Polish accountant and former Home Army resistant committed suicide by self-immolation in the former PGE National Stadium, the Stadion Dziesięciolecia during an harvest festival. His act was a reaction against the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, he was the first one to protest against this invasion. This act was omitted by the media but 100 000 people witnessed his suicide including many journalists and the national leadership of the Polish United Workers’ Party. The authorities suppressed any mention of this tragedy but 30 years later a 7-second film was found capturing by a motion camera.
Ryszard Siwiec was a very smart person and was disillusioned with the reality of communist Poland. During his act he refused any help shouting “I Protest”, he had a banner with the words “For our freedom and yours” and “Honor, Fatherland”. He died 4 days later at the hospital. He was posthumously awarded a number of Czech, Slovak, and Polish honors and decorations.
His story was told in a documentary film by Polish director Maciej Drygas.