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Polish Nationalists March in Warsaw on Independence Day

Over 70,000 people took part in the annual Independence Day March organised by nationalist groups in the Polish capital Warsaw on Saturday, according to independent estimates by the online portal onet.pl. Unlike in previous years, there were no major incidents reported by the police.

Nationalists marched under the banner “Poland is not yet lost” or “Poland has not yet perished”, the first line of the Polish national anthem. This is the first time since 2015 when nationalists have taken to the streets in the knowledge that nationalist-populist political parties that share their values are unlikely to be part of the new government.

This year, Poles celebrated the 105th anniversary of regaining independence after the end of World War I. Previously, the territory of current-day Poland had been split among the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires.

The Independence Day March in Warsaw is the biggest event held on this day in the country, originally organised by two far-right groups. This year too, Celtic crosses and red-and-white nationalist banners were spotted in the crowds, while Krzysztof Bosak, one of the two leaders of the far-right Confederation alliance and involved for a long time in the organisation of the Warsaw march, was seen attending.

Also in attendance was Paul Golding, the leader of Britain First, a far-right UK political party, who posted on social media photos of himself attending together with Dominik Tarczynski, an MEP from the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS).

Despite a history of violence, this year’s march passed off rather uneventfully, with the only illegal action noted by the police being the setting off of flares by participants.

The mood seemed to be one of defiance, judging by the main slogan of the demonstration. After December this year, it is unlikely the ruling nationalist-populists of PiS will retain power or the far-right Confederation will be part of any government as nationalists had hoped, although the possibility still cannot be entirely discounted.

Another key message of the organisers was resistance to the EU. “We see a threat from the West. We see that the EU is pursuing federalisation more and more aggressively,” Bartosz Malewski, head of the Independence March Association, said in a speech at the start of the march which began in the city centre and ended at the National Stadium.

“This means the liquidation of nation-states and the loss of sovereignty,” he declared. “We say a resounding ‘no’ to these attempts.”

Source : Balkan Insight



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