By MARK LINDSLEY
Poland’s eighteenth annual nationalist rally was held on Nov. 11 in the streets of the Warsaw, the country’s capital.
This year’s rally was significant because it had a record turnout of approximately 60,000 people. Historically, the event only had a turnout of a few hundred people, according to Newsweek.
Some of the other significant numbers from the event include the attendance of 2,000 counter-protestors and the detainment of approximately 50 people by police, according to the BBC. Nov. 11 was also Poland’s Independence Day, which was overshadowed by the rally.
Many of the nationalist demonstrators could be seen waving Polish flags, ares and Christian symbols around, according to The New York Times. Some of the phrases that the nationalists had on written on their signs included “White Europe,” “Clean Blood,” “Europe Will Be White” and “Pray for Islamic Holocaust,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Seen on the signs of the counter-protestors were “Stop Fascism” and “Rainbow is the New Black,” according to the New York Times. While their main slogan was, “For our freedom and yours,” the nationalists’ main slogan was “We want God.”
The phrase “We want God” isn’t just important because it was chanted by over a million Polish people in 1979 when Pope John Paul II visited his home country, according to Newsweek. It is also important because that same phrase was used by President Donald Trump when he visited Poland on July 6.
“As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history,” President Trump said in an address to the Polish people during his visit. “Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland,
the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out ‘We want God.’”
The drastic increase in the number of demonstrators at the rally correlates with Poland’s recent increase in the size of its far-right movement. The biggest of the contributing factors is the influx of Syrian refugees entering the country, but the statements that were made by President Trump may have also played a role, according to Newsweek.
While Poland has shown one of the biggest increases in the size of its far-right movement in Europe, the size of these movements throughout the continent have been increasing steadily. This is similar to the increase in the size and frequency of white supremacist demonstrations that the United States has experienced since Trump was elected.
In Poland, the nationalists are referring to themselves as The Radical Camp, which is the name of the movement that tried to force the Jews out of Poland before the Holocaust started. Now, they are attempting to drive the Syrians out of their country, claiming that “the Syrian migration is part of a conspiracy between Jewish financiers and Communists to destroy the European Union with Islam, Sharia law and homosexuality,” according to Newsweek.
The success of the efforts of The Radical Camp and other far-right movements throughout Europe and America are yet to be determined. As the size of these groups continues to increase, their ability to make an impact on society will continue to increase as well.