Should Polish soldiers be able to shoot migrants? 85% of Poles say yes

A recent survey shows overwhelming support for the use of force by the Polish military in situations where migrants attempt to forcefully cross the border

A soldier stands guard by a metal barrier, in Bialowieza Forest, eastern Poland, on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

In the survey conducted by IBRiS, participants were asked whether soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces stationed on the eastern border should be allowed to use firearms in situations of forceful border crossing attempts by migrants.

The survey, commissioned by the newspaper Rzeczpospolita, revealed that 85.7 percent of those surveyed support such actions by the military, while 10.7 percent are opposed, and 3.6 percent are undecided.

The survey indicates that support for military action against migrants is particularly strong among men overall (88 percent), men in their 50s (90 percent), and residents of small towns (91 percent). These supporters are most often irregular churchgoers (93 percent) who follow political developments closely and identify their political views as right-leaning (96 percent). They most recently voted predominantly for the Confederation (94 percent) or Law and Justice party (PiS) (88 percent) in the last parliamentary elections.

Conversely, among those opposed to the use of weapons by soldiers at the border, voters of the New Left dominate (19 percent).

The border crisis with Belarus escalated last week when private Mateusz Sitek of the 1st Warsaw Armored Brigade died after being stabbed by a migrant during his service at the border. The soldier, who was severely wounded in the chest, lost his life after several days in the hospital.

Earlier, it was revealed that the military police had detained three Polish Army soldiers near the Polish-Belarusian border at the end of March and April who had fired warning shots towards migrants. Two of the soldiers have been charged by the prosecutor’s office with exceeding their authority and endangering the life of another.

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