Polish marchers protest against immigrants
PR dla Zagranicy
Up to 2,000 demonstrators staged a march in central Warsaw on Saturday afternoon to protest at Polish plans to take in refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.
Anti-immigration marchers at Warsaw's Castle Square. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński
"We will defend our homeland. We won’t let immigrants in,” chanted protesters at the march, whose slogan was "Against the Islamisation of Europe". Many carried Poland's red-and-white national flag.
Close by, several dozen people took part in a counter-demonstration by left-wing and anarchist groups, who said they were determined to stand up to right-wing “racial and religious hatred”.
Opposition MP Robert Winnicki, head of the National Movement, one of the organisers of the anti-immigration march, said: “We are protesting against the Islamisation of Europe, against immigration, against invasion.”
He added: “We are being told that these groups that Poland is to take in are refugees. We say ‘No!’ These people are invaders.”
Last month, Prime Minister Beata Szydło announced that up to 400 refugees would be relocated to Poland in 2016 as part of the previous government’s commitments to the EU to take in 7,000 immigrants over two years.
The Warsaw march organisers said nearly 2,000 protesters took part. Police put the figure at 1,500. Similar anti-immigration protests were held in other European cities.
Polish opposition grouping Kukiz' 15, to which Winnicki is linked, last month started collecting signatures backing a referendum on whether Poland should accept refugees fleeing the war-torn Middle East and North Africa.
Party leader Paweł Kukiz, a veteran rock star, has said that the asylum seekers are “culturally foreign.”
Only four percent of Poles believe their country should take in refugees and allow them to settle here, according to a recent survey. (pk)
Source: Polish Radio/PAP