Polish officials praise march but denounce racism, anti-Semitism

Published on Monday, 13 November 2017 21:41
Written by The Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Poland’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that it strongly condemns racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideas, but insisted that a large weekend march by nationalists in Warsaw was largely an expression of patriotic feeling.

The ministry said that the march Saturday on the Independence Day holiday was “a great celebration of Poles, differing in their views, but united around the common values of freedom and loyalty to an independent homeland.”

The event was organized by groups that trace their roots to radical nationalist pre-World War II anti-Semitic groups. About 60,000 people took part, including families. But there were also young men carrying banners with messages including “White Europe of brotherly nations.”

Some carried the Celtic Cross, a white supremacist symbol, and there were reports that people chanted slogans against Jews and had anti-Islam banners.

Police detained 45 counter-protesters who blocked the march’s path, but didn’t act against any of those expressing extremist views.

On Monday, a small group of civic rights activists protested what they saw as the authorities’ failure to respond properly to the behavior of the nationalists. In a really in front of city hall they chanted “Warsaw free from fascism!” One man held a banner saying, “Poland, wake up. Fascism is coming.” They then proceeded to a police station to protest there too.

Posted in The Bristol Press, on Monday, 13 November 2017 21:41. Updated: Monday, 13 November 2017 21:43.