Far-right protesters have burnt a rainbow piece of artwork during an event to commemorate Poland’s national independence in the capital Warsaw.

LGBT campaigners, who had gathered in Zbawiciela Square, were dismayed to see a rainbow art installation go up in flames.

Eyewitnesses say it was attacked by nationalist gangs because it represented a symbol of the LGBT community – and it had already been damaged ahead of Monday’s incident.

The trouble started when a group of masked far-right youths threw fireworks and set fire to cars during a nationalist march.

It’s an annual event to commemorate Poland’s national independence day, and for the third year in a row it broke down into running battles in the middle of Warsaw between rioters and riot police.

The Russian embassy – a symbol for some Poles of repression during Soviet rule – was also attacked.

“There is no justification for hooliganism,” Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski said.

The authorities also said that at least four police officers were among those injured during the violence.

Rainbow 1

Earlier this year, Poland’s first openly gay MP was attacked at a pride event in Warsaw.