White Nationalist March Overwhelms Polish Independence Day

Photo: Czarek Sokolowski/AP Images.
Pictured: Scenes from yesterday's march.
Police say an estimated 60,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Warsaw in a march organised by far-right nationalists on Poland Independence Day, The Guardian reports.
The November 10 holiday, which marked the country regaining its independence in 1918 following World War I, was overwhelmed by nationalists armed with flares and making anti-Semitic and Islamophobic declarations. According to The Guardian, the marchers were mostly young males, many of whom waved Polish flags as well as banners featuring far-right symbols and xenophobic slogans calling for a "white Europe" free from refugees.
One banner, CNN reports, read "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust." Demonstrators also reportedly chanted statements like “pure Poland, white Poland” and "death to enemies of the homeland."
Advertisement
Photo: JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images.
Pictured: A masked demonstrator waves a flare.
The New York Times also noted the number of banners decrying Islam, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Many nationalists in the predominantly Catholic country reportedly carried Christian iconography while speakers spoke of upholding Christian values. One slogan, "We Want God," referenced a traditional Polish nationalist song which President Donald Trump quoted during his visit to Warsaw in July.
Anti-fascist demonstrators also joined forces yesterday as a counter-protest to the nationalist march. The Guardian noted one incident in which nationalist demonstrators reported kicked women belonging to the anti-fascist protest.
According to Radio Poland, however, Polish officials are downplaying yesterday's events, writing it off as a display of patriotism rather than evidence of extremism.
"Independence Day... was safe," Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said. "We could see white and red [the colours of the Polish flag] in the streets of Warsaw; it was a beautiful sight. We are proud that so many Poles decided to take part in [the] events."
It's not the first time Poland Independence Day has been disrupted by the far right. Last year a similar protest drew 75,000 marchers, according to police estimates, though organisers put the number as being closer to 100,000.
Advertisement

More from Global News

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that color what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most most vibrant cultural and culinary centers—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.