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Nationalists March On Poland's Independence Day

Nationalists March On Poland's Independence Day

Marchers were seen with flares and smoke bombs, while some wore balaclavas and carried bottles beer.

Several rallies have taken place in Poland in the last couple years, in which hundreds of thousands of people had participated, a lot of them criticizing the European Union's and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's unpopular decision to de-facto open the continents borders to millions of asylum seekers and, by effect, illegal immigrants.

The march, in Warsaw, saw some supporters chanting "clean blood", "pure Poland" and "white Poland", The Guardian reports.

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.

Speakers spread messages about "standing against liberals" and "defending Christian values" during the march.

As Poland has moved further to the right, the rally has grown. Some participants held umbrellas that spelled out "Stop Facism" and others carried a banner that read "Rainbow is the new black".

Reports indicate that not only Poles, but also other Europeans participated in the events, including popular Eurosceptic and nationalist figureheads, such as Tommy Robinson from Britain and Roberto Fiore from Italy.

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The rally appears to have gained the tacit approval of the governing Law and Justice Party, but officials told local and global media that the event met all legal requirements. State broadcaster TVP, for example, called it a "great march of patriots", making it seem like the march was about Poles expressing love for their homeland.

A small counter-protest also took place, with the two groups being kept apart in order to avoid confrontation.

He said: "I'd say some people here do have extreme views, maybe even 30 percent of those marching, but 70 percent are simply walking peacefully, without shouting any fascist slogans".

"It was a attractive sight", Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland's interior minister, said. But he refused to acknowledge that there were racist slogans at the march "It's only your opinion, because you behave like a political activist", he told a reporter who asked about the widely-documented banners and chants.

"For me it's important to support the anti-fascist coalition, and to support fellow democrats, who are under pressure in Poland today", he said.

Earlier in the day, the president, Andrzej Duda, presided over state ceremonies also attended by the European Union president, Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister.

The conservative tack taken by the country's ruling PiS party, including anti-migrant and pro-logging reforms, has put it increasingly at odd with Brussels.