Another Anti-Islamic Rally Hits The Rynek

On the same day Wroclaw Miasto unveiled its bridge of tolerance monument, dozens of people gathered in front of Wroclaw's Town Hall for yet another anti-refugee protest.

At the demonstration, organised by the National Radical Camp and All-Polish Youth, participants shouted out chants such as "Not Islamic, not secular, but Polish Catholic!", "Poland free from Islam" and "Islam out of the Polish party ".

One of the speakers at the event, Justyna Helcyk, added to those chants by saying the following: 

"These murderers, these Islamists, these fundamentalists will not assimilate. They will sow terror, they will rape and kill.

It is you (The EU) who have invited them here – you have the blood of those who ran down the streets of Paris. It is you who have brought here the plague of Islam."

Another of the those to take the stage was Piotr Rybak, who continued the anti-Islamic theme: 

"Young people will be subjected to rapes and beatings; killings will become commonplace. Is This the Europe you want?

We must again fight for freedom. No German, Jew or American can tell me that Islam is good natured towards Christianity."

An advert for last evening's protest

There are even reports (although only confirmed by Gazeta Wyborcza at this stage) that one demonstrator, standing just a few metres away from the French Consulate, cried out the words "You are not Je suis Charlie, you are not Je suis Parisien, you are Je suis Idiot!".

It wasn't just Muslims and those supporting the message of peace that the protesters took aim at however. An effigy of a Jewish man carrying an EU flag was set ablaze at the demonstration too. Why? Allegedly because some of the protesters believe in a conspiracy that a Zionist plot has been hatched to send refugees to Europe as part of a plan for a greater Israel.

The protest comes barely over a week after the 'March of the Patriots', while a similar anti-refugee rally was also held in Wroclaw earlier in the autumn. 

At the event members of the Polish Youth organisation reportedly handed out leaflets bearing the title "No Immigrants". The leaflet then went on to say "The vast majority of them (the refugees) are Muslims. We will pay their benefits, they will take our social housing and they will not assimilate." 

Joanna Grabarczyk, a representative from the Hejtstop organisation that campaigns against hate speech, was critical of the Police for not intervening during yesterday's protest:

"The police should react if such slogans are uttered (hate speech). This is another such demonstration that has taken place in the country without Police intervention.

The lack of response from the authorities gives those involved some kind of legitimacy for their activities."

Joanna Grabarczyk, Hejtstop

Still in buoyant mood after a record turnout at last week's 'March Of The Patriots', and spurred on by a growth in Islamophobic attitudes following the recent Paris attacks, the ONR are continuing their activities in Wroclaw as soon as tonight.

The extreme nationalist group, whose website states they oppose the model of multicultural societies, the ideology of human rights and the system of liberal democracy, will convene tomorrow at Glamour conference room in the city's old town. Among the items they plan to tackle in their agenda are the power of the liberal-capitalist lobby, gay propaganda and departures from the Catholic tradition. 

Yesterday's ONR protests in Wroclaw were not unique in Poland however, with similar demonstrations taking place in Krakow and in Lublin at the same time yesterday.

A poster for yesterday's demonstration in Krakow

Meanwhile in Poznan, a shocking banner that read 'Pray for the Islamic holocaust' was hung on a bridge over a busy road. According to Inside Poland, the local Police Authorities are looking into the matter. Andrzej Borowiak, spokesman for Wielkopolska Police, is quoted as saying: “The police conducted a visual inspection and removed the banner. We will try to determine who hung it there. Such [police action] always takes place when someone hangs something in public space.”

Such protests and instances of hate speech are not merely restricted to Poland however, with countries across Europe recording a spike in abuse against Muslims. Should the hatred continue and in turn burn bridges between Muslims and the rest, many political observers fear it could play into the hands of terrorist groups like ISIS

News of these protests overshadowed yesterday's unveiling of a new monument dedicated to tolerance. The six-meter, steel column filled with red glass, has been built as part of the European Parliament's worldwide network of tolerance. The monument, which is located on Wejherowska street in Wroclaw, is said to be only 8th of its kind in the entire world. 

Photocredit: prasowe/Michał Świderski, Fundacja Metro

The project behind the construction of the monument, named the 'Network of Tolerance', was founded in Wiesbaden and the inspiration for its creation was the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, as proclaimed and signed by the Member States of UNESCO on 16 November 1995. According to Martin Hartmann, an artist who works on the project, the monument represents "the space and people who are willing to work together to spread the message of tolerance." 

To the sadness of all those present at the unveiling of the monument yesterday, the message of tolerance was not there to be seen on the market square last night. 

Gregor Gowans

The founder and editor of Wroclaw Uncut, Gregor has been running the website since its inception in 2012. A Wroclawian for almost 10 years, Gregor writes on a wide variety of topics including, food & drink, nightlife, local news and politics. He is also a regular guest on Radio Ram's Sunday lunch programme.

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