Minor scuffles broke out in Wrocław on Saturday when two opposing protests clashed on Świdnicka street.
Tensions began to fly when a dozen or so anti-facist demonstrators tried to block the route of the nationalist march organised by Jacek Międlar's 'Great Independent Poland' association.
The trouble started due to some counter protesters managing to get access to the path of the nationalist march on Świdnicka street. This resulted in some nasty confrontation between the two groups, despite the police's efforts to move the counter protesters away from the march.
Yesterday a woman protesting against the march alleged her hair had been set on fire, while video footage showed the nationalist protesters shouting "get the f*ck out of the country" towards those who tried to block them. There were also reports of objects being thrown at those in the blockade.
Marta Lempart, the leader of the All-Polish Women's Strike (a.k.a the Black Protest), said she took part in the blockade due to the passive attitude of the local and national governments towards fascism:
Neither the city authorities nor the police react [towards the protesters]. This is despite them using ideology and symbols referring to Nazism and fascism, which are prohibited in Poland. They will explain that Nazism and fascism are "views" that can be expressed in public space. Does that apply to racism and homophobia too?
Marta Lempart, leader of the All-Polish Women's Strike
Another participant in the counter protests, Małgorzata Farynowska from the 'Citizens of Poland' organisation, said after the incident "My determination to keep the nationalists out will increase after this event. We cannot be intimidated."
Approximately 1,500 people took part in the nationalist march, which started at 16.30 by Wroclaw main train station and finished on the Rynek.
Before the 'March Of The Great Independent Poland' took place, Jacek Międlar criticised Wrocław's President for being "anti-Polish":
This [the march] will be a great manifestation of the National Rebirth of Poland and the new Latin civilization. We will raise Poland from its knees. We will walk through the very city that has been tormented by Rafal Dutkiewicz's anti-Polish rule.
In an article promoting the march on his own website, Międlar also described the mainstream media coverage (namely from Gazeta Wyborcza) as "Jewish propaganda" designed to "weaken the country".
In addition to that, Międlar made disparaging remarks about Wyborcza being pro-Ukrainian (which is no surprise seeing a he attended an anti-Ukrainian immigration event earlier this year).
During the march, participants reportedly carried torches and flares while screaming slogans such as "Great Independent Poland!", "Glory to the heroes!", "Cured Soldiers forever in our memory" and "Death to the enemies of the homeland".
The rhetoric then continued on the market square, where Międlar went on to say the following:
There are people who do not like our independence and stand in our way. They are the same people who marched in the march of the hypocrites, otherwise known as the March of Mutual Respect.
Be ruthless and radical in the fight against evil and Talmudism. There is hope in you. We are an independent Poland. We are are the good in a war against evil. A war that we will win! No Jewish or Marxist disease will prevent us from doing so.
Our occupiers want to destroy us. Young people are homo-tolerant. In Germany they have legalized the third sex and they also want to legalize pedophilia. We will not let that happen here!
Jacek Międlar was also joined on stage by Britain's First's Jayda Fransen, who was praised by the ex-priest for "fighting the Islamic pedophiles".
Meanwhile the National Rebirth of Poland (NOP), whose 'March Of The Patriots' is normally the main nationalist march on Independence Day, were forced into playing an outside role this year after an alleged fall-out with Międlar and Rybak.
For those unfamiliar with the NOP, the organisation's website explains of their belief in a so called "third position" – an ideology that considers abortion, artificial birth control, euthanasia, divorce and homosexuality as wholly unacceptable. The third position also supports a policy named by the NOP as "racial separation".
The 2017 March Of The Patriots ran from Promenada Staromieska towards pl.Solny, where protesters reportedly shouted chants such as "Poland is all white" and "Michnik [the editor of Gazeta Wyborcza] go to Israel".
Before making their way to pl.Solny, the protesters also burned an EU flag outside the European Commission office. The flag had the words "PiS" written in the centre, presumably due to the Polish Government's insistence that the country should remain in the EU.
The PiS administration have of course had a number of disagreements with the EU, however this does not seem to be enough for the NOP. They are demanding a 'Polexit' as soon as possible.
Photo © Marcin Hołubowicz / Agencja Gazeta
Emotions have to continued to fly two days after the nationalist march took place, with some individuals looking to file complaints to the prosecutor's office regarding various issues related to the event.
Krzysztof Nityjewski of 'The Committee For The Defence Of Democracy' has said that he will ask for action to be taken against the protester's "illegal use of pyrotechnics and the expression of hate speech".
Międlar has also been very vocal on Twitter since the end of the march, where he has described some of the media reaction to the march as "embarrassing". He also praised the protesters' reaction to being blocked, stating that "We were attacked but we put them in their place! We are proud! Thank you Poles".
Barbara Zielińska-Mordarska of Wrocław City Council has confirmed that police will review video footage of the event to see of any crimes were committed.