Nationalists March On Poland's Independence Day

The father of modern Poland Jozef Pilsdudski

Tens of thousands of people joined a nationalist march in Warsaw on Saturday, organised to coincide with Poland's independence day.

Numerous marchers were young men, some with their faces covered or with beer bottles in hand, throwing red smoke bombs.

Police estimated about 60,000 people showed up for the nationalist march, while about 2,000 counterprotesters - described by some to be "anti-facist" - also attended.

A man walks with a bloody lip as demonstrators yell at him outside the location where Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, is delivering a speech on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, U.S., October 19, 2017.

Some participants expressed sympathy for xenophobic or white supremacist ideas, with one banner reading, "White Europe of brotherly nations".

There were also many families and older people in attendance.

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

The rally appears to have gained the tacit approval of the governing Law and Justice Party, but officials told local and worldwide media that the event met all legal requirements.

Mariusz Blaszczak, the country's interior minister, labelled the event as a "beautiful sight".


The two groups were kept separate by police. However, there was one incident in which the nationalists pushed and kicked several women who chanted anti-fascism slogans and had a banner saying "Stop Fascism".

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.

Some of the ideas portrayed were in support of Polish Catholic values, with slogans such as "We Want God" and "Catholic Poland, not secular".

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

"I came especially so that my participation in this event would mark the beginning of preparations for the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence". adding that he would next year honour his grandfather, who fought in the Polish Legions, which were set up by Piłdudski in World War One.

Earlier in the day, President Andrzej Duda appeared at an Independence Day event in Pilsudski square.

The conservative tack taken by the country's ruling PiS party, including anti-migrant and pro-logging reforms, has put it increasingly at odd with Brussels. Phrases such as "pure Poland, white Poland" were shouted during the march.

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