Nationalists, anti-facists march through Warsaw on Poland's Independence Day

13 November, 2017, 02:57 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Polen | Tausende Nationalisten feiern den polnischen Unabhängigkeitstag in Warschau

Police estimated some 60,000 people took part in the demonstration that included banners that read, "White Europe, Europe must be white" and, "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust".

While some participants who rallied in Warsaw did so under atheistic, nationalistic banners, others marched under religious imagery, chanting "We Want God", which alluded to an old Polish religious song that U.S. President Donald Trump had excerpted during his visit to the polish capital earlier this year. Several of the speakers called on people to stand against liberals and defend Christian values. Many were young men, some with their faces covered or with beer bottles in hand, but families and older Poles also participated.

Far-right leaders from other European countries also took part: among them were Tommy Robinson from Britain and Roberto Fiore from Italy.

Independence day is taken seriously in Poland, which was wiped off the map for over 120 years prior to 1918.

Protesters carry Polish flags and National Radical Camp flags during a rally, organised by far-right, nationalist groups, to mark 99th anniversary of Polish independence in Warsaw.

While numerous marchers carried the national white-and-red flag, some displayed banners depicting a falanga, a far-right symbol dating to the 1930s.

The xenophobic, fascist, and anti-refugee march is an annual event that has emerged as a key rallying point for far-right groups across the continent.

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A smaller counter-protest by an anti-fascist movement also took place.

"It was a lovely sight", Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland's interior minister, said. Organizers ensured the two groups remained apart to prevent violence.

"We are proud that so many Poles have made a decision to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday", he said.

Kamil Staszalek, 30, said he was there to "honour the memory of those who fought for Poland's freedom". "For me it's important to support the anti-fascist coalition and to support fellow democrats, who are under pressure in Poland today".

An official ceremony was hosted by President Andrzej Duda.

All living former Polish presidents attended, as well as European Union president Donald Tusk. "No politician in Poland has ever had nor will ever have a monopoly on patriotism", Mr Tusk said as he arrived at the airport in Warsaw. Warsaw and Brussels have been increasingly at odds on a series of issues, including the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government's controversial court reforms.

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