Poland marks centenary of its national rebirth
WARSAW, POLAND — Poland’s president, prime minister and other top political figures led an Independence Day march Sunday as part of a day of centenary celebrations, trailed by a huge crowd led by nationalist groups.
Police estimated about 200,000 people marched in Warsaw to mark the 100th anniversary of Poland’s rebirth as an independent state at the end of The First World War.
President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the leader of the conservative ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, walked in a crowd fronted by soldiers carrying a huge flag with the words “For You Poland.”
Walking a small distance behind them was another crowd of nationalists and their supporters, many of them burning firecrackers and flares, creating flashes of red light and smoke.
Most in that contingent carried national flags, but some held flags of the National Radical Camp, a far-right group and one of the main march organizers.
The camp’s flag has a falanga, a far-right symbol dating to the 1930s of a stylized hand with a sword.
There were also a few flags of Forza Nuova, an Italian group whose leader, Roberto Fiore, describes himself as fascist.
Among various slogans some shouted were “U.S.A., empire of evil” and “Poland, white and Catholic.” Members of one nationalist group, All-Polish Youth, burned a European Union flag.