Nationalism, as in anti-European Union and anti-globalism, is sweeping through Eastern Europe and in no place is it catching fire faster than Poland.
Upwards of 50,000 Poles were reported out in the streets Wednesday evening, marching with flags and slogans like “Stop Islamization” and “Great Catholic Poland” on the anniversary of Poland’s return to independence after World War I.
There were 11 demonstrations throughout the day in Warsaw Wednesday. Police came out in full riot gear and there were some minor skirmishes, but no injuries reported.
“God, honor, homeland,” chanted the protesters as they marched under a sea of red-and-white Polish flags, the Telegraph reported.
Demonstrators trampled and burned a European Union flag at one point, while a banner added to the anti-EU theme with the slogan “EU macht frei” (“Work makes you free” in German), a reference to the slogan over the gates at Auschwitz, according to the Telegraph.
Poland’s outgoing centrist government has agreed to accept about 7,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea, a plan that has angered many Poles.
Germany, by contrast is accepting at least 1 million migrants from Syria and other countries in the Middle East and Africa. France has agreed to take 22,000, Britain 20,000 and Spain 17,000. Sweden has taken in more than 40,000 Middle Eastern refugees this year and Greece 88,000, according to Inquisitr.com.
In the wake of the migrant crisis, Poland’s anti-migrant Law and Justice party won in a landslide election Oct. 25. A new government will be sworn in within days.
“Yesterday it was Moscow, today it’s Brussels which takes away our freedom,” chanted one group of protesters.
The crowds gathered in front of the National Stadium where they lit flares under the slogan “Poland for the Poles, the Poles for Poland.”
Some, such as American author Pamela Geller, have speculated Europe could be on the brink of civil war if the migrant crisis continues unabated and European politicians continue to hang out the “welcome” banner in face of growing opposition from their own people. Stories of Germans being evicted from apartment homes so migrants can be accommodated and mounting reports of rapes in Germany and Sweden do not bode well.
Swedish King invites migrants to live in his palaces
The developments in Poland, and to a certain extent Hungary, which has elected nationalist Viktor Urban as prime minister, contrast with the politics of Sweden, which continues under leftist rule.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, it was reported Thursday, is considering letting refugees stay in his unused palaces as the country has run out of available housing options.
The king has 16 extravagant estates across the country, many of which he never uses, the Daily Caller reported.
Margareta Thorgren, the royal director of communication, said the royal family has taken the Syrian migrant situation to heart and is “open to creative solutions” to solve the housing emergency.
“The royal family is following it and is very engaged in the issue,” Thorgren said. “The situation is such that we need as many people as possible helping out, and the royal family has done this by helping established organizations working on the refugee crisis.”
Letting people stay in the king and queen’s primary residence of Drottningholm Palace is not an option. But if the National Property Board — which technically owns the estates — is open to using some of the unused properties, they will have a discussion, according to Thorgren.
The annual march in Warsaw, organized by Poland’s nationalist right, has featured rock-throwing youths and vandalism in previous years but this year’s march was peaceful.
“I came here because I love Poland and want to show it,” 27-year-old Piotr, who came with his fiancée, told the Telegraph. “I came here for my grandfather, who fought in the Warsaw Uprising (against the Nazi occupation of the Polish capital), and for his father, who fought for independence.”