Nationalists March On Poland's Independence Day

Image Polish Independence Day celebrations in Warsaw

Nationalists March On Poland's Independence Day

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.

Tens of thousands of neo-Nazis and far-right nationalists marched through Warsaw carrying antisemitic flags and banners with slogans such as "White Europe of brotherly nations" and "Clean Blood".

Some participants marched under the slogan "We Want God", words from an old Polish religious song that the U.S. president, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year.

The Polish government has come under criticism for its nationalistic rhetoric that many have said indirectly promote the kind of views espoused by the marchers on Saturday.

Numerous demonstrators expressed far-right ideas with a number of banners displaying xenophobic and white supremacist ideas, focusing particularly on support for a "white Europe" free of refugees.

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Today Poland celebrates its National Independence Day, 99 years since the end of its partition between Russia, Prussia, and Austria after the First World War.

Speakers talked of standing against liberals and defending Christian values.

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"It was a lovely sight", the interior minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, said.

Separately, left-wing activists held a much smaller counter-protest that they called an "anti-fascist" march.

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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". This year's theme is "We want God" and, according to some observers, may be one of the largest right-wing marches in the world. "It's 50 to 100,000 mostly football hooligans hijacking patriotism", said 50-year-old Briton Andy Eddles, a language teacher who has been living in Poland for 27 years.

Kamil Staszalek, 30, said he was there to "honour the memory of those who fought for Poland's freedom".

Tusk said: "Independence Day has always been and will continue to be a celebration of all Poles and not just one party". 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 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.

Poland was the only European Union country to vote against Mr Tusk's reelection as European Union president in March.

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