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    Polish MP Faces Criminal Proceedings for Disrupting Hanukkah Celebration in Parliament

    The Polish Prosecutor’s Office has taken action against Grzegorz Braun, a prominent member of the Confederation party, following an incident during which he extinguished Hanukkah lights with a fire extinguisher in the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament.

    Traditionally, the Sejm hosts a celebration of Hanukkah, symbolizing Poland’s inclusivity of all faiths and honouring the Jewish community decimated during World War II’s Nazi occupation.

    MP Braun was observed seizing a fire extinguisher and dispersing its contents on the Hanukkah menorah and the Sejm hall, a move that drew widespread condemnation.

    Szymon Banna, spokesperson for the Warsaw Prosecutor’s Office, confirmed the initiation of official proceedings, stating, “The Prosecutor’s office has begun investigations into the events involving the MP at the Sejm of the Republic of Poland.”

    “Ongoing procedural actions aim to gather evidence,” Banna added.

    In response to the incident, Sejm Speaker Szymon Holownia ejected Braun from the session and called for a recess.

    Subsequently, the Sejm’s Presidium penalized Braun by withholding half of his pay for three months and his entire subsistence allowance for six months. Moreover, the Presidium authorized the Sejm’s Office to file a formal motion with the prosecutor’s office.

    Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish festival commemorating the recapture of Jerusalem in 164 BC, involves the lighting of candles on a ceremonial candelabrum called a menorah. The disruption in the Sejm underscores the sensitivity surrounding religious observances and cultural commemorations within Poland’s political sphere.

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