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Far-right Polish lawmaker Grzegorz Braun douses menorah in parliament

Polish lawmaker extinguishes Hanukkah candles
Far-right Polish lawmaker uses fire extinguisher to put out Hanukkah menorah candles 01:24

A far-right Polish lawmaker on Tuesday used a fire extinguisher to put out the candles in a Hanukkah menorah placed in the parliament lobby, a stunt that saw him ordered out of the assembly by the speaker of the lower chamber.

"This should have never happened," Szymon Holownia told reporters after expelling the lawmaker, Grzegorz Braun, to leave the plenary, adding that he would call for an investigation into the incident.

The ceremony for lighting the nine-branched candelabrum was held in the Polish parliament to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights, and was attended by rabbis and a Jewish music band.

Far-right Polish lawmaker Grzegorz Braun from Konfederacja party stands after using a fire extinguisher to put out Hanukkah candles at the parliament in Warsaw
Grzegorz Braun, a far-right Polish lawmaker, second from the left, is seen after using a fire extinguisher to put out Hanukkah candles at the parliament in Warsaw, Poland Dec. 12, 2023. Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja

Poland's TVN24 showed video of Braun using a red fire extinguisher to douse the candles, filling the area with smoke and fog from the device. The parliamentary proceedings were suspended.

"This should have never happened," Holownia told reporters after he ordered Braun to leave the session, adding that he would call for an investigation into the lawmaker's actions.

Poland's newly elected Prime Minister Donald Tusk called it a disgrace and said such a thing should never be repeated. Tusk, a pro-European Union centrist, was elected on Monday, marking a reversal for Poland after years of conservative leadership. Tusk gave his inaugural speech to parliament Tuesday before Braun acted out.

Braun, a pro-Russian member of the Confederation party, has previously claimed that there's a plot to turn Poland into a "Jewish state."

Antisemitism has been on the rise in Europe and the U.S. amid the war between Israel and Hamas, sparked by the Palestinian militant group's unprecedented terror attack on Oct. 7.

"It can't happen again, it's a disgrace," Tusk said as he waited for the parliament to approve his new pro-EU government, a vote that was delayed amid the chaos triggered by the incident, which was condemned by all parties except for Braun's Confederation. 

"SHAME. A Polish Parliament member just did this. Few minutes after we celebrated Hanukkah there," Israel's ambassador to Poland Yacov Livne said on social media, posting a video of the stunt.

After a delay that lasted a few hours, the new government of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk won the confidence vote in parliament, the Associated Press reported. Tusk and his cabinet are expected to be formally sworn in on Wednesday morning.

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