Anti-migrant rally draws thousands in Poland (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Over 25,000 people were expected to take to streets in a protest against an influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, according to reports in local media ahead of the rally.
The demonstration, organized by a nationalist organization called All Polish Youth, comes after a decision by Poland’s authorities to accept some 2,000 refugees from Syria and North Africa by 2017.
“All Polish Youth expresses its strong opposition to the actions taken by the Polish government since it blindly does everything Brussels and Berlin say,” Michał Nowak, representative of All Polish Youth, said.
“Polish media do not cover the situation accurately, saying that the majority of refugees, who are actually economic migrants, are women and children. In fact, 75% of those people are young men, according to the UN statistics,” he declared.
The protesters who walked down the streets carrying Polish flags and placards reading “Poland is for us” or “No to extremism,” condemned the situation and blamed the government for turning their backs on the needs of Polish people.
Przemyslaw Wipler and Janusz Korwin-Mikke, members of the liberal Polish political party Coalition of Polish Republic's Renewal Freedom and Hope (KORWiN), were also among the protesters.
They started off with their own smaller group of protesters that soon merged with the much larger All Polish Youth group.
Korwin-Mikke, who is the chairman of KORWiN, compared Europe to a rotting tree and refugees to parasites at a party convention on Saturday.
“The parasites are not to blame, however, the trees are actually at fault,” said the politician.
A number of other cities in Poland saw similar demonstrations on Saturday, September 26.
Despite the decision that angered the All Polish Youth organization, Warsaw seems somewhat reluctant to take on the additional refugees that could be imposed on it by the obligatory quotas on which the EU has been insisting. Poland’s foreign minister Grzegorz Schetyna said on Monday that, while the country could accept up to 9,000 new refugees or even more under the European Union quota plan, he would prefer to see the bloc’s borders sealed. He also said such decisions should be voluntary.
This is not the first time Poles have gathered to protest pro-migrant policies. A wave of protests swept across Warsaw not long ago, when several hundred people took to the streets back in July of this year.
However, this opinion is not shared by all Polish people, with some still favoring the acceptance of more refugees.
Europe is currently struggling with an unprecedented influx of refugees fleeing from war-torn regions in the Middle East and North Africa.