London Mayor Sadiq Khan took part via video link in the Campus Polska event organized in the Polish city of Olsztyn under the patronage of Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski. In addition to Trzaskowski and Khan, the mayors of Vilnius and Gdańsk were also present.
During his speech, Khan attacked Poland’s ruling conservative government led by Law and Justice (PiS) and warned the event’s attendees to be wary of the Polish government. He claimed that Polish central authorities fear Trzaskowski and plan to strip him of power.
“The central government in Poland wants to take power away from the mayor of Warsaw because its members are aware that Rafał Trzaskowski is a very popular politician who is also on the opposite side of the political scene,” he said.
Khan told the audience that it must oppose the Polish government because once it is done with Trzaskowski, it will “come for them”: “If you live in Warsaw or in other parts of the country you must be aware that the central government is attacking Rafał and Warsaw but that is only the first step. They will come for you next and that is why you should fight for local governments to have more rights,” he stated.
The London mayor’s speech was met with applause from the audience.
Polish web users were outraged by Khan’s statements and claims.
“It seems like he was saying what Rafał Trzaskowski had told him during earlier meetings. A typical one-sided point of view,” wrote one Twitter user.
“What a nice campus, so anti-Polish…” wrote another, noting the irony of the event.
The Campus Polska event was initiated by Rafał Trzaskowski on Aug. 27 and will last until Sept. 2. One of the main points of the program was a conversation between former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Trzaskowski. During his speech, Tusk declared that if he had enough power after the elections, he would permit civil unions.