Right-wing nationalists march on Poland's independence day

Demonstrators hold cartoons of leader of PiS party Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Prime minister Beata Szydlo and President Andrzej Duda

But in the past few years, the holiday has been overshadowed by the far-right march and fears of violence.

The November 11 celebration marks the day in 1918 when Poland regained its independence after having been carved up for 123 years by Russia, Prussia and Austria.

While numerous marchers carried the national white-and-red flag, some displayed banners depicting a falanga, a far-right symbol dating to the 1930s.

'We are proud that so many Poles have made a decision to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday, ' he said.

Far-right leaders from elsewhere in Europe - including former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson - were also said to have been at the event, organised to coincide with Poland's independence day.

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. Despite the common slogan "We want God", the protesters set up quite aggressively.

The slogan for this year's event is "We Want God", words from an old religious Polish song that President Donald Trump quoted in July while visiting Warsaw.

They were campaigning for a "white Europe", as well as spreading messages about "standing against liberals" and "defending Christian values".

Across the city a smaller counter protest was held by anti-facist groups who marched with banners reading "together against racism" and "rainbow is the new black".

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

At a separate Independence Day event in Kraków, the leader of the governing Law and Justice Party, Jarosław Kaczyński, also struck a nationalist chord.

Tusk, who attended at Duda's invitation, also paid tribute to those who died during the conflict.

The mass display of xenophobia, including anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-gay slogans, was not immediately condemned by senior government officials. and it was certain to heighten concerns in Brussels over the continuing rightward shift of Poland's politics.

"The French were paid, Jews were paid, and many other nations were paid for the losses they suffered during World War Two".

"It is not only about material funds". And this is not theater.

Kaczynski's statement comes after Polish parliamentary legal experts in September ruled that Warsaw has the right to demand reparations from Germany. The accident, which claimed the lives of several high-ranking Polish government officials (including his brother, then-President Lech Kaczyński) has become a rallying point for right-wing conspiracy theorists who believe that it was a deliberate act by Russian Federation.

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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