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Road Trip Day 45 Poznań: The youth flocking to Poland's far right

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 People take part in far right protest in Warsaw
People take part in far right protest in Warsaw -
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Agencja Gazeta/Maciej Jazwiecki via REUTERS
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Euronews is on a road trip to feel Europe's pulse ahead of elections later in May. Our correspondent Vincent McAviney is in Poland.

The rise of far-right populist and nationalist groups is a Europe-wide phenomenon. In the west of Poland, one of the most famous groups is All-Polish Youth.

The group are an ultra-catholic nationalist organisation, though they have been around for almost a century, they use very modern means of communication to attracts members. Posting slickly produced videos and content across social media – something that has seen them repeatedly removed from Facebook.

Amnesty International and the United Nations are amongst the groups who have condemned them as being extremist homophobes.

Zemowit Przebitkowski, All-Polish Youth’s leader, says the European Union has drifted far from its original intentions.

“I don’t love [the] EU much, in fact, I think, our movement considers that the EU is not like it was in the very beginning, right now it is something like a superstate," he said. "Or it wants to be a superstate. We should leave the European Union.”

All-Polish Youth members are particularly fixated on LGBT people. They’ve threatened those taking part in pro-gay demonstrations and turned violent towards them in the past, throwing bottles and rocks at them.

Do the All-Polish Youth hate the LGBT community?

“It is not like I hate them or something, I can’t hate anybody just because he is sick or he has a mental disorder, I can’t hate them,” said Przebitkowski.

“Of course it is, all researchers [sic] there is a great correlation with the homosexuality and paedophilia, there is.”

Euronews correspondent Vincent McAviney told his interviewee there was no scientific evidence to back up this claim.

Others say groups like Przebitkowski's are increasingly met with opposition.

“Of course, it’s happening [the far-right] but there’s also a huge backlash to that, so on one side we have a state that leans towards the right-wing, but also we have a huge resistance to it,” said Wiosna MEP candidate Marta Lempart.

But one of Poland’s leading social psychologists thinks the rise of the extreme right has been over exaggerated.

“The youth are becoming very radical.,” says Professor Zbigniew Nęcki of Jagiellonian University.

"Both lean to the right, towards religion and fascism, and to the left towards atheism. It is simply the liberalisation of views, the opening of what is happening in the world. But it is not true that there are more and more rightists, fanatics, some lovers of fascism. They are just very loud and they can be seen very well."

With tens of thousands following All-Polish Youth on social media and a recent former leader becoming a government deputy minister, their full impact in the direction of the country in upcoming EU and domestic elections may well yet be unforeseen.