Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Right-wing nationalists march on Poland's independence day

Right-wing nationalists march on Poland's independence day

Authorities have granted the march a status of a "regular event", meaning in future nobody will be able to march on streets reserved f0r the "Independence March".

"We are proud that so many Poles have chose to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday", he said.

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

The day celebrates the re-birth of Poland in November 1918, 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg and Russian empires carved up Poland among themselves and erased it from the map of Europe.

They were campaigning for a "white Europe", as well as spreading messages about "standing against liberals" and "defending Christian values".

Polish nationalists carry a banner translating to "we want God" during a march in Warsaw.

Reports indicate that not only Poles, but also other Europeans participated in the events, including popular Eurosceptic and nationalist figureheads, such as Tommy Robinson from Britain and Roberto Fiore from Italy.

Many carried the national white-and-red flag as others set off flares and firecrackers, filling the air with red smoke. Organizers ensured the two groups remained apart to prevent violence.

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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".

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. After laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, he told the crowd to remember the price of freedom and independence.

'Independence Day has always been and will continue to be a celebration of all Poles and not just one party, ' Mr Tusk said. 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. The ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kacyzynski, referred to it as "a very important day in [Polish] history".

"It is not only about material funds". And this is not theater.

Kaczynski's statement comes after Polish parliamentary legal experts in September ruled that Warsaw has the right to demand reparations from Germany.

The mass display of xenophobia, including anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-gay slogans, was not immediately condemned by senior government officials. and it was certain to heighten concerns in Brussels over the continuing rightward shift of Poland's politics.

The German government has rejected the idea of paying massive wartime reparations to Poland, saying the matter had been settled in 1953.

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