Warsaw nationalist march attracts tens of hundreds

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Protesters light flares and carry Polish flags during a rally, organised by far-right, nationalist groups, to mark 99th anniversary of Polish independence in Warsaw, Poland November 11, 2017.Image copyright
Reuters

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Far-right rally-goers lit flares and carried Polish flags as they marched by way of the capital

Tens of hundreds of individuals joined a nationalist march in Warsaw on Saturday, organised to coincide with Poland’s independence day.

Marchers chanted non secular slogans equivalent to “God, honour, country” and a few referred to as out racist chants together with “Pure Poland, white Poland”.

An “anti-fascist” counter-protest attracted about 2,000 folks.

Police estimated that 60,000 folks took half in the principle march.

It attracted far-right agitators from elsewhere in Europe, together with Tommy Robinson from the UK and Roberto Fiore from Italy.

Kamil Staszalek, 30, mentioned he was there to “honour the memory of those who fought for Poland’s freedom”.

“I’d say some people here do have extreme views, maybe even 30% of those marching, but 70% are simply walking peacefully, without shouting any fascist slogans,” he informed the AFP information company.

Supporters of the nation’s governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) occasion took half within the annual march, which takes place alongside different occasions.

Poland’s inside Minister Mariusz Blaszczak referred to as the occasion a “beautiful sight”.

“We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday,” he mentioned.

Andy Eddles, a British language trainer who has been dwelling in Poland for 27 years, mentioned he was “shocked that they’re allowed to demonstrate on this day”.

“It’s 50,000 to 100,000 mostly football hooligans hijacking patriotism,” the 50-year-old, who joined the counter-protest, informed AFP.

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

The nationalist marchers carried Polish flags and threw purple smoke bombs. Pawel, 21, from the southern metropolis of Rzeszow informed AFP it was “important because religion is important in our country and we don’t want Islamisation, of Europe or especially Poland”.

Other occasions had been additionally held within the metropolis for Independence Day, which marks the nation regaining independence 123 years after it was carved up by Tsarist Russia, Prussia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

An official ceremony was hosted by President Andrzej Duda.

All dwelling former Polish presidents attended, in addition to the European Union president Donald Tusk.

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AFP/ Getty Images

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European Council President Donald Tusk lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

“Independence Day has always been and will continue to be a celebration of all Poles and not just one party. No politician in Poland has ever had nor will ever have a monopoly on patriotism,” Mr Tusk mentioned as he arrived on the airport in Warsaw.

Poland was the one EU nation to vote towards Mr Tusk’s reelection as EU president in March.

The conservative tack taken by the nation’s ruling PiS occasion, together with anti-migrant and pro-logging reforms, has put it more and more at odd with Brussels.

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