In Warsaw 100 thousand people went on the March of nationalists
In Warsaw 100 thousand people went on the March of nationalists
Poland celebrates Independence Day
13 November, 2017, 02:06
Several events were held to mark the 99th anniversary of Poland's independence after 123 years of being partitioned between Prussia, Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Some 15,000 people took part in a 10-kilometre fun run in Warsaw, won by Arkadiusz Gardzielewski with a time of 30:03, while Ewa Jagielska was fastest among the women with a time of 34:38.
The event was reportedly organised to coincide with Poland's Independence Day and a number of well known far-right leaders from all over Europe, allegedly including former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, were there.
Some participants marched under the slogan "We Want God", words from an old Polish religious song that the United States president, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year. "We are proud that so many Poles have made a decision to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday".
There were also many families and older people in attendance.
Still others carried signs equating Islam with terrorism, waved signs denouncing same-sex marriage, and carried banners of the National Radical Camp, an anti-Semitic group founded before World War II on extreme nationalist values.
As Poland has moved further to the right, the rally has grown.
Many carried the national white-and-red flag as others set off flares and firecrackers, filling the air with red smoke.
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The Polish Interior Minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, called the event a "beautiful sight".
In previous years, there were violent clashes between the marchers and anti-fascist demonstrators but this year thousands of police sealed off the streets, as well as the central Warsaw Poniatowski Bridge, and there was no contact with any protesters against the march.
The two groups were kept separate by police. "There's no party in the Polish parliament that wants Poland to leave the EU", Szydlo told a foreign policy conference in Warsaw.
Andy Eddles, a British language teacher who has been living in Poland for 27 years, joined the counter-protest, saying he was "shocked that they're allowed to demonstrate on this day".
'For me it's important to support the anti-fascist coalition, and to support fellow democrats, who are under pressure in Poland today'.
"No politician in Poland has ever had nor will ever have a monopoly on patriotism".
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.
Poland was the only European Union country to vote against Mr Tusk's reelection as European Union president in March.
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