WARSAW. Poland — Tens of hundreds of individuals walked by means of Warsaw on Saturday in a march organized by nationalist teams as Poland celebrated its Independence Day vacation, 105 years after the nation regained its statehood on the finish of World Struggle I.
Individuals carried Poland’s white-and-red flag and a few burned flares as they marched alongside a route main from town heart to the Nationwide Stadium.
Whereas many patriotic occasions happen throughout the nation of 38 million on Nov. 11, the yearly Independence March has come to dominate information protection as a result of it has generally been marred by xenophobic slogans and violence.
This yr’s occasion was attended by some 40,000 and handed off peacefully, the Warsaw mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, stated.
It got here as nationalist forces have seen their worldview rejected by voters. In a nationwide election final month, voters turned out in large numbers to embrace centrist, average conservative and left-wing events after eight years of rule by a nationalist conservative celebration that was at odds with the European Union.
The far-right Confederation celebration, which is ideologically linked to the Independence March, gained simply 18 seats within the 460-seat Sejm, the Polish parliament. In the meantime, Regulation and Justice, the ruling right-wing nationalist celebration whose leaders joined the march previously, gained essentially the most votes however fell in need of a parliamentary majority.
Donald Tusk, the successful coalition’s candidate to be the subsequent prime minister, appealed for nationwide unity in a message on X, stressing that the vacation is one which belongs to all Poles.
“If somebody makes use of the phrase nation to divide and sow hatred, he’s performing in opposition to the nation,” stated Tusk, who didn’t be part of the march. “In the present day our nation is celebrating independence. The entire nation, all of Poland.”
The Independence Day vacation celebrates the restoration of Poland’s nationwide sovereignty in 1918, on the finish of World Struggle I and after 123 years of rule by Prussia, Austria and Russia.
“For us, Poles, at the present time of Nov. 11 is a day of pleasure, a day of satisfaction, a day of glory, a day after we bear in mind with emotion that after 123 years of non-existence, our nation, Poland, was reborn,” stated President Andrzej Duda in a speech on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Duda warned that Russian imperialism as soon as once more threatens not simply Ukraine however the wider area.
“Russian imperialism will go additional: it’ll need to seize extra nations, taking away their freedom and their states,” Duda stated.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy despatched Poland a message on X, previously Twitter, telling Poles: “Might your independence be invincible and everlasting.”
The march has previously drawn far-right sympathizers from different European international locations, together with Hungary and Italy. Amongst these collaborating this yr was Paul Golding, the chief of Britain First, a small far-right celebration within the U.Okay.
Soccer supporters had been outstanding among the many marchers, some holding banners with far-right slogans. One group introduced EU and LGBGQ+ flags to stomp on and one rainbow flag was burned. Nonetheless, many households additionally took half, and there have been no arrests. Police eliminated local weather protesters who positioned themselves alongside the route of the march.