Tens of Thousands Join Polish White Supremacist March: "Europe Must Be White"

Tens of Thousands Join Polish White Supremacist March:

Fascists and white supremacists descended on Warsaw Saturday to mark Poland's independence day by chanting Neo-Nazi slogans.

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.

Around 60,000 people marched in Warsaw on Independence Day, some chanting anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-gay slogans.

Police estimate that 60,000 people took part in the nationalist demonstration.

The demonstration also attracted nationalists from other countries. One sign read, "White Europe of brotherly nations", and another said, "We want God". Many were young men, some with their faces covered or with beer bottles in hand, but families and older Poles also participated.

The march has become one of the largest such demonstration in Europe and drew far-right leaders from elsewhere in Europe, including Tommy Robinson from Britain and Roberto Fiore from Italy.

Speakers spread messages about "standing against liberals" and "defending Christian values" during the march.

The rally appears to have gained the tacit approval of the governing Law and Justice Party, but officials told local and global media that the event met all legal requirements. State broadcaster TVP, for example, called it a "great march of patriots", making it seem like the march was about Poles expressing love for their homeland. Some 2,000 people gathered to condemn the nationalists and organizers largely kept the two groups apart.

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At a 6 p.m. news conference, after the march ended, Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said: "There were no incidents".

Many people in the crowd told local and worldwide media they were not part of the radical-nationalist groups, but were attending in celebration of Independence Day.

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

"I'm shocked that they're allowed to demonstrate on this day".

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". "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.

Pawel, 21, from the southern city of Rzeszow said he joined the march because "religion is important in our country and we don't want Islamisation of Europe or especially Poland".

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.

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.

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