'White Europe': 60000 nationalists march on Poland's Independence Day

Frederick Owens
November 13, 2017

One of the lead organizations behind the nationalists march is the National Radical Camp, which has previously taken to the streets to protest against Muslim immigration, gay rights, the European Union and anything it considers undermines Polish Catholic values.

Several rallies have taken place in Poland in the last couple years, in which hundreds of thousands of people had participated, majority criticizing the European Union's and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's unpopular decision to de-facto open the continents borders to millions of asylum seekers and, by outcome, illegal immigrants.

An estimated 60,000 people turned out in Warsaw for the march, with many chanting "clean blood", "pure Poland" and "white Poland" and carrying posters with the words: "white Europe of brotherly nations".

Some participants marched under the slogan "We Want God", words from an old Polish religious song that the U.S. president, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year.

The banner reads 'Polonia catholic'.

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

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

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Still others carried signs equating Islam with terrorism, waved signs denouncing same-sex marriage, and carried banners of the National Radical Camp, an anti-Semitic group founded before World War II on extreme nationalist values. State broadcaster TVP, for example, called it a "great march of patriots", making it seem like the march was about Poles expressing love for their homeland.

At a 6 p.m. news conference, after the march ended, Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said: "There were no incidents".

Many people in the crowd told local and global media they were not part of the radical-nationalist groups, but were attending in celebration of Independence Day. Organizers ensured the two groups remained apart to prevent violence.

The slogan for this year's event was "We Want God", in line with emotional themes of the past rallies.

Kamil Staszalek, 30, said he was there to "honour the memory of those who fought for Poland's freedom".

However, Andy Eddles, a Brit who has lived in Poland for 27 years, said: "I'm shocked that they're allowed to demonstrate on this day".

'For me it's important to support the anti-fascist coalition, and to support fellow democrats, who are under pressure in Poland today'. 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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