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Polish president condemns far-right march
©Maciej Zygmunt

Polish president condemns far-right march

14/11/17Government

Andrzej Duda said there is “no place in Poland” for the scenes of xenophobia and racism that marred the national Independence Day march.

The Polish president has condemned expressions of xenophobia and racism at a weekend march by nationalists, saying there is no place in the country for anti-Semitism and “sick nationalism”.

It was the strongest and first unambiguous condemnation by a representative of the country’s conservative leadership of the white supremacist and racist views expressed by some of the 60,000 people who took part in a march on Saturday’s Independence Day holiday in the capital Warsaw.

Government members over the past two days had mostly described the participants as patriots and played down the nature of the messages.

However, Jewish groups called on authorities to condemn the message of slogans such as “pure blood, clear mind” and “Europe will be white or uninhabited” that some of the nationalists carried at the march.

One large banner at the march read ‘Deus Vult’ in Gothic lettering. Latin for ‘God wills it’ it was a cry used during the First Crusade in the 11th Century when a Christian army from Europe slaughtered Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land. In recent years, it has been used by the radical right to show hostility to Islam.

President Andrzej Duda said that “there is no place in Poland” for xenophobia, pathological nationalism and anti-Semitism, and that “the country must remain a land open to all who want to come together and work for the good of the nation”.

The foreign ministry had said it strongly condemned racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideas, but insisted the march was largely an expression of patriotic feeling, calling it “a great celebration of Poles, differing in their views”.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called the event “a dangerous march of extreme and racist elements”.

Pan European Networks Ltd