In Warsaw 100 thousand people went on the March of nationalists

Polen | Tausende Nationalisten feiern den polnischen Unabhängigkeitstag in Warschau

Poland celebrates Independence Day

The day celebrates the re-birth of Poland in November 1918, 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg and Russian empires carved up Poland among themselves and erased it from the map of Europe.

Tens of thousands of nationalists have marched through Warsaw to mark Poland's independence day, throwing red smoke bombs and carrying banners with such slogans as "white Europe of brotherly nations".

Police estimated some 60,000 people took part in the demonstration that included banners that read, "White Europe, Europe must be white" and, "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust".

Some participants marched under the slogan "We Want God", words from an old Polish religious song that the USA president, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year.

On Independence Day, Duda also awarded state distinctions, including three Orders of the White Eagle, the highest state distinction in Poland given for civilian and military contributions to the country. Others spoke of defending Polish Christian values and standing up to liberals, Britain's The Independent reported.

The slogan for this year's event was "We Want God", in line with emotional themes of the past rallies. Organisers kept the two groups apart to prevent violence.

Separately, left-wing activists held a much smaller counter-protest that they called an "anti-fascist" march.

European Council President Donald Tusk, who is a former Polish prime minister and a political opponent of the current Warsaw government, was in Poland for Independence Day celebrations. After laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, he told the crowd to remember the price of freedom and independence.

Tusk, who attended at Duda's invitation, also paid tribute to those who died during the conflict. "We are proud that so many Poles have chose to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday".

'No politician in Poland has ever had nor will ever have a monopoly on patriotism'.

This objection most specifically references a recent announcement by Jarosław Kaczyński, de facto leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, of a competition to design a monument commemorating for next year's holiday dedicated to the victims of the 2010 airplane crash in Smolensk, Russia. "Poles were not", Kaczynski said. It is about our status, our honor ...

Kaczynski's statement comes after Polish parliamentary legal experts in September ruled that Warsaw has the right to demand reparations from Germany.

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.

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