Tens of Thousands Join Poland’s Nationalist Independence Day March

Tens of thousands of people answered the call of nationalist groups Monday, marching in Warsaw to mark the country’s independence day.The marchers chanted “God, honor, homeland!” and “No to the European Union!” while holding aloft torches and setting off fireworks to blanket the area with a cloud of smoke in the national red and white colors.A smaller group of counter-protesters sang “Bella ciao,” an Italian anti-fascist resistance anthem.The independence day march has been growing in size since the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in 2015. PiS won a second term last month with 44% of the vote.The party has called for a revival of nationalist and Catholic values and a rejection of Western liberalism.  “We have to return to our roots. Our world has abandoned God and Christianity,” Robert Bakiewicz, one of the march organizers, told the crowds in central Warsaw. “We will die as the nations of western Europe are dying.”On November 11, Poles mark the end of World War I, which was also the end of 123 years of occupation by tsarist Russia, Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian empire. 

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