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POLISH fascists marched in step with supporters of the ruling Law and Justice party in a demonstration to mark Poland’s independence day today.
Warsaw became a sea of red flares as what Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called a “great communal march” took place 100 years after Poland won independence from the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian empires at the end of World War I.
The size of the march was estimated at 200,000, with security forces keeping government officials separate from the main body to avoid their being associated too closely with far-right fellow marchers.
Crowds chanted: “Poland should be national, not red or rainbow.”
Mr Morawiecki and President Andrzej Duda had called on far-right marchers to refrain from bringing “offensive banners” calling for white supremacism following a global outcry after last year’s march, which saw fascist flags paraded and banners calling for “a Holocaust of Muslims,” a “white Europe” and “clean blood.”
But courts lifted a ban on the same far-right groups marching again, and the emblem of Poland’s National Radical Camp (ONR) — a movement modelled on the anti-semitic campaign of the same name founded in the 1930s — was prominent in the crowds, as were flags of Italy’s fascist Forza Nuova.
After negotiations, the PM’s office and ONR march organiser Robert Bakiewicz both announced that they would march together on Friday. Addressing the rally at the start, Mr Duda claimed there was “space for everyone under our flags,” though in context this appeared more a justification for allowing fascist organisations to march than an appeal to respect diversity.
Mr Bakiewicz later spoke from the main stage alongside speakers calling for marchers to build “a great Poland” and fight for “God, honour, homeland.” He declared: “I am Poland.”
Earlier this year at a protest outside the presidential palace during a Polish quarrel with Israel over a Bill which would have made it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Holocaust, he slammed Jews in Poland as a “fifth column” and ONR members chanted urging Mr Duda, who is not Jewish, to “take off your yarmulke” and sign the Bill.
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