About 60,000 anti-Islam, anti-immigrant nationalists and fascists trooped through Warsaw on Saturday, marking Poland’s Independence Day in a striking display of right-wing strength.
For the event, the marchers chose the slogan “We Want God,” a phrase from a Polish religious song that was uttered by President Trump during his visit to Poland in July.
The march, organized by a Polish youth movement, drew extremists from around Europe. The Wall Street Journal reports that banners displayed slogans such as “White Europe,” Europe Will be White,” and “Clean Blood.” Al Jazeera reports that some of the marchers’ chants “directed expletives at refugees, leftists, liberal media outlets, and the U.S.”
As Poland’s government has veered hard to the right in recent years, the march has become the premier event every Independence Day, supplanting official commemorations in visibility. Poland’s government appears to be supportive of that development.
“It was a beautiful sight,” Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said. “We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday.”
About 5,000 Antifa counterprotesters also gathered; there were no reports of clashes between the two groups.
November 11 marks Poland’s reemergence as a country in 1918, after 123 years of being ruled variously by Russia, Prussia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.