60,000 Nationalists March On Poland's Independence Day
An estimated 60,000 people marched through Poland last night, carrying far-right symbols and chanting racist slurs.
The march, in Warsaw, saw some supporters chanting 'clean blood', 'pure Poland' and 'white Poland', The Guardian reports.
The event was reportedly organised to coincide with Poland's Independence Day and a number of well known far-right leaders from all over Europe, allegedly including former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, were there.
Marchers were seen with flares and smoke bombs, while some wore balaclavas and carried bottles beer.
They were campaigning for a 'white Europe', as well as spreading messages about 'standing against liberals' and 'defending Christian values'.
Mariusz Blaszczak, the country's interior minister, labelled the event as a 'beautiful sight'. He added: "We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday."
On the other hand there was another march, though a lot smaller in scale, which opposed the event.
The two groups were kept separate by police. The second group carried banners saying 'Stop Fascism'. Despite the authority's best efforts to prevent violence, a number of women were reportedly pushed and kicked by nationalists.
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The banner reads 'Polonia catholic'. Credit: PA
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'.
He said: "I'd say some people here do have extreme views, maybe even 30 percent of those marching, but 70 percent are simply walking peacefully, without shouting any fascist slogans."
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. It's 50 to 100,000 mostly football hooligans hijacking patriotism.
"For me it's important to support the anti-fascist coalition and to support fellow democrats, who are under pressure in Poland today."
In Warsaw to celebrate Poland's Independence Day pic.twitter.com/ndCFfUv7Mz
- Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) November 11, 2017
The Warsaw president, Andrzej Duda, hosted a ceremony with all previous presidents, as well as European Union president Donald Tusk, while the march took place, Guardian reports.
Tusk said: "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."
Featured Image Credit: PA