More than 200,000 people marched in Warsaw on Sunday for an annual event celebrating Poland’s 100th anniversary of independence.
The annually recurring rally, which has gained publicity for being one of the biggest political demonstrations in Europe, has evolved beyond an event merely commemorating independence to a mass public expression for nationalists, conservatives and patriots in the Central European country.
Demonstrators repeated the slogan of “God, Honor and Fatherland” while carrying patriotic placards, and many repeated chants expressing opposition to the European Union, mass immigration, and Islamization. Although the annual march dates back to at least 1989, when Poland became free of Soviet domination, some demonstrators believed that this year’s turnout was the most the event had ever seen.
Officials from the Law and Justice Party, the national conservative party with a majority in the nation’s parliament, also attended the march, although some within the party expressed a more standoffish attitude towards the rally and its belligerent reputation. The rally has become a point of animosity for European liberals and globalists- the former Belgian Prime Minister and EU Parliamentarian Guy Verhofstadt last year had described the event as “60,000 fascists marching in the streets of Warsaw –- neo-Nazis, white supremacists.” Verhofstadt seemed to miss the irony of referring to a Polish patriotic event as a “neo-Nazi” event, considering that Poland was the first country to be invaded by Germany in World War II, going on to sustain massive casualties throughout the course of the war.
The event’s popularity and massive turnouts had been leading to disputes over its leadership between Law and Justice and various nationalist factions and organizations. A deal through which the party would lead the event fell through when they tried to prohibit marchers from carrying placards.
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