Nationalists March On Poland's Independence Day

Poland celebrates Independence Day

Some participants marched under the slogan "We Want God", words from an old Polish religious song that the USA president, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year. Poland celebrates this Independence Day from the old powers on November 11, the same day as the Armistice of 1918 that ended the war. The march has become the largest Independence Day event in recent years, overshadowing official state events.

Tens of thousands of people marched in Warsaw Saturday at a Polish Independence Day celebration led by three radical-nationalist groups, with banners calling for "White Europe" and "Clean Blood".

"I am convinced that the Independence Day can be celebrated with a smile on our faces and with joy in our hearts because there really is much to celebrate and much be proud of - without hostile chants and without clenched fists", he told journalists on Saturday morning. Several of the speakers called on people to stand against liberals and defend Christian values.

Protesters marched under far-right banners, with one reading "White Europe of brotherly nations".

But many argued the day had been "hijacked" by racist groups, with an "anti-fascist" counter-protest attracting around 2,000 people.

All living former Polish presidents attended, as well as European Union president Donald Tusk. Organizers ensured the two groups remained apart to prevent violence. "We are proud that so many Poles have made a decision to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday". "No politician in Poland has ever had nor will ever have a monopoly on patriotism", Mr Tusk said as he arrived at the airport in Warsaw.

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Relations between Brussels and Warsaw have worsened in recent months because of the PiS government's controversial court reforms, large-scale logging in a primeval forest and refusal to welcome migrants.

Ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński said: "The 11th of November is the 99th anniversary of the day which is considered the day Poland regained its independence, a very important day in our history".

"It is not only about material funds".

Several rallies have taken place in Poland in the last couple years, in which hundreds of thousands of people had participated, majority criticizing the European Union's and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's unpopular decision to de-facto open the continents borders to millions of asylum seekers and, by effect, illegal immigrants.

The claims of the Polish government are backed up by extensive research conducted by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Chatham House, earlier this year, finding that Over 70 percent of Poles and almost 60 percent of all Europeans believe that all Muslim immigration should cease.

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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