Controversial march passes off peacefully despite fears of neo-nazi infiltration
In the build up there’d been suggestions it might become a focus for nationalist extremists, but Poland’s Independence Day celebrations passed off peacefully on Sunday.
Flares lit up the night sky in Poland’s national colours as some 200 000 people took to the streets of Warsaw to celebrate.
There’d been fears that the event would be hijacked by anti-semitic and neo-fascist movements as it has been in previous years some neo-nazi flags were in mixed with the red and white flags. But President Andrzej Duda had asked that the memory of Poland’s declaration of independence 100 years ago be celebrated in a way all Poles could enjoy and his wish was largely respected.
"Let's go together, let this be our joint march,” Duda told the crowd. “Let it be a march for everyone, a march where everyone wants to be and feels good, marching for Poland."
However, underlining Poland's growing isolation in the European Union since Duda took office, no senior delegations from fellow EU states turned up for the official ceremony.
The President of the European Council Donald Tusk was the bloc's only senior representative and the former liberal Polish prime minister’s visit comes amid speculation that he may return to run for president in 2020.