Since the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States, fascist movements and political activities have surged in the West.
In May, Marine Le Pen lost the French presidential race but still projected to have won up to 11 million votes thanks to her racist, xenophobic, antisemitic and anti-Muslim campaign.
In August, hundreds of far-right demonstrators wielded torches as they marched on to the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. In September, a far-right anti-Muslim and anti-immigration party won seats in the German parliament for the first time in half a century.
To mark Poland’s independence day, tens of thousands of nationalists, fascists and far-right extremists marched through Warsaw throwing red smoke bombs and chanting white supremacy slogans such as “white Europe of brotherly nations” in one of ‘world’s biggest’ far-right gatherings since the end of World War II.
Many protesters carried the national white and red flag while others set off flares and firecrackers, filling the air with red smoke. Some also carried banners depicting a falanga, a far-right symbol dating to the 1930s.
— Agnieszka Pikulicka (@Aga_Pik) November 11, 2017
Protesters marched under the slogan “We Want God”, words from an old Polish religious song that the US President, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year. One protester, a proud white supremacist, told TVP he was taking part “to remove Jewry from power.”
Rafal Pankowski, head of the anti-extremist association Never Again, said that despite the references to God, the march should not be viewed as being inspired by religious beliefs:
“We know that Donald Trump is not the most religious man, and I think that most of the organizers are not very religious, either. But they use Christianity as a kind of identity marker, which is mostly about being anti-Islam now.”
The organizers included the National-Radical Camp, the National Movement and the All Polish Youth — radical organizations that trace their roots to anti-Semitic groups active before World War II.
Poland marks its rebirth as a nation in 1918 after being wiped off the map for 123 years. The country regained its sovereignty at the end of World War I after being partitioned and ruled since the late 18th century by Russia, Prussia and the Austro-hungarian Empire.