Poland to ask Germany about satirical Carnival float

AP News
Posted: Feb 09, 2016 9:44 AM
Poland to ask Germany about satirical Carnival float

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Polish government has taken offense at a German Carnival float that satirizes the country's ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and plans to raise the matter with the German government, Poland's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Witold Waszczykowski said in a radio interview that the float, on display in Duesseldorf on Monday, showed "disrespect toward Poles and Polish politicians" and that Warsaw wants to know "what is the aim of such antics."

The float showed Kaczynski dressed as a dictator with the heel of one boot on the head of a submissive and bleeding female figure representing Poland. By the figure's side was a radio labeled Radio Maryja, a poke at the ultra-Catholic radio station that supports Kaczynski's right-wing Law and Justice party.

"Maybe this attests to the tastes of our German friends," Waszczykowski said.

He said he realized other political leaders are also satirized during German Carnival parades and that Poland therefore plans to inquire diplomatically.

"We want to do this in a balanced way so as not to violate freedom of speech and freedom of expression," he said on public radio.

Polish-German ties have worsened since Law and Justice, a nationalist party, took power last November. The government moved quickly to make legislative changes that have raised international concern about the state of Poland's democracy. Several German officials have made critical comments about Warsaw's new direction, something that has prompted Polish officials to lash back with harsh rhetoric, sometimes reminding Germans of their past Nazi crimes.

Bitter recrimination toward Berlin was a feature of the last government led by Law and Justice, from 2005-2007.