A demonstration under the slogan “Solidarity instead of nationalism – together across borders” passed through the streets of Warsaw on Saturday chanting “Warsaw free from racism. Enough refugee threats. Solidarity our weapon” and demonstrating against nationalism, fascism, racism and xenophobia.

Solidarity instead of nationalism manifestation in Warsaw

“Poland for everybody” (image: Amnesty International Poland)

The manifestation, organised by informal movements and NGOs, among others, Anti-fascist Warsaw, 161 Crew, Multicultural Centre in Warsaw, The Other Space Foundation (Inna Przestrzeń) and the Polish branch of Amnesty International, started from the Umschlagplatz, from where trains carrying Jews to death camps used to set off during the Nazi occupation.

77 years ago from this place hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to the death camp of Treblinka – said Agata Kwiatoń from Amnesty International at the Umschlagplatz – They were murdered because of their religion and origin. Others were threatened with exile. Family members of many of us lived through hell fleeing the country and wandering in search of refuge; often thanks to a simple human reflex of another person they managed to survive. We believe that national values ​​are not in conflict with a sense of solidarity – she added.

Several hundred people gathered at the Umschlagplatz and others joined on the way.

The demonstration is for Poland, for Poland, where one person supports another – said Dariusz Kraszewski of the Anti-fascist Warsaw organisation. He added that the demonstration is against Poland “where different environments come to the fore and shout about Poland hateful and intolerant”. – That instead of supporting another man, a neighbour, it smothers them with its shoe – he added.

Ellisiv Rognlien of the Workers Democracy stresses that the organisers of the march do not agree with the rhetoric towards refugees, which is currently used by the authorities. She compares today’s propaganda towards refugees to the anti-Semitic propaganda of the ’30s. And she adds that this is all the more serious that the mainstream politicians are using the same language.

The organisers estimate that up to 2 thousand people could have participated in the march. Some stops were scheduled on the route of the march, including the Monument of the Ghetto Heroes and Zachęta. These places are considered symbols, and show what nationalism may lead to: violence and destruction.

The demonstration took place two days before the International Day Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, which is today, established on the anniversary of Kristallnacht – the mass killing of Jews in the National Socialist German Reich in 1938.

For us and the organisations that joined us, it is important that we are together; we believe that Poland can be confident, that it has its own value and is not afraid of refugees – said Witek Hebanowski of the Warsaw Multicultural Centre. – It is important that we all were able to demonstrate that we will not give up the public space to frustration and hatred, that we can be together, while being different – he added.

A few days before the demonstration organisers also alluded to “an annual farce of November 11”. This year’s demonstration organised in celebration of the Independence Day by the nationalists, which we mentioned in our article last week, is to be held under the slogan “Poland for Poles, Poles for Poland”. As the nationalists say, it is related to the “flood of illegal immigrants who knock at the door of Europe.”

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