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emfizz.com November 24, 2017


Warsaw nationalist march draws tens of thousands

13 November 2017, 01:44 | Terri Saunders

DIMITAR NIKOLOV is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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The march, in Warsaw, saw some supporters chanting "clean blood", "pure Poland" and "white Poland", The Guardian reports.

The demonstration dominated over other Independence day events in the country, a reflection of the current trend of far-right sentiment in Europe. "We are proud that so many Poles have chose to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday". This time the traditional torchlight procession of nationalists in Warsaw only has, according to police estimates, at least 100 thousand people.

Many carried the national white-and-red flag as others set off flares and firecrackers, filling the air with red smoke.

Several rallies have taken place in Poland in the last couple years, in which hundreds of thousands of people had participated, a lot of them 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.

The slogan for Saturday's march, "We want God", comes from an old Polish nationalist song.

Speakers spread messages about "standing against liberals" and "defending Christian values" during the march. In what seems to be the only isolated episode of violence, white nationalists at one point kicked and pushed a group of women who were carrying a banner that read, "Stop Fascism".

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

Polish resident Kamil Staszalek told AFP that he was marching with fellow countrymen 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".

Earlier in the day, the president, Andrzej Duda, presided over state ceremonies also attended by the European Union president, Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister.

"I am convinced that the Independence Day can be celebrated with a smile on our faces and with joy in our hearts because there really is much to celebrate and much be proud of - without hostile chants and without clenched fists", he told journalists on Saturday morning. For months, Warsaw and the EU have been in a tense standoff over changes to Poland's court system that the European Commission says are undermining the rule of law.

Marches were held in cities across the country, as were regional activities including a "Happy Parade" in Wrocław, southwestern Poland, a "Patriotic Parade" in Kraków, southern Poland, and "National Colours" dip in the Baltic Sea in Szczecin, northwestern Poland.



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