Over the weekend, as many as 60,000 demonstrators marked Poland’s independence day with a torch-lit march through Warsaw.
The rally, which has been organized by two far-right organizations since 2009, was portrayed in Poland as a display of unity that attracted people from across the political spectrum. But Poland’s government was afraid that it would attract far-right sympathizers from around the world.
In October, American white nationalist leader Richard Spencer said he planned to attend the rally, but was barred by Poland’s Foreign Ministry. President Andrzej Duda, who’s locked in a battle with the country’s ruling populist Law and Justice party, declared that “there is no place in Poland” for xenophobia, pathological nationalism, and anti-Semitism.
But Western news reported that a banner “for the Islamic Holocaust” was prominently displayed at the event, accompanied by chants of “Pure Poland, White Poland.” Some of the images of these rallies were from other demonstrations at other times.
Artur Rosman, a Polish-American writer and managing editor of the Church Life Journal based at Notre Dame University, joins Worldview to discuss the rise in populism in Poland and the proliferation of a far-right there.