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Nationalist protestors stage massive demonstration on Polish Independence Day

iStock/Thinkstock(WARSAW, Poland) -- Tens of thousands of Poles descended on Warsaw on Saturday, some to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the rebirth of their country, some to demonstrate in favor of nationalism.

The demonstration was organized by a number of far-right groups, including the National Radical Camp. The group has previously protested Muslim immigration, gay rights, and the European Union. Leading figures in Saturday's demonstration spoke of standing against liberals and defending Christian values. Participants carried signs reading "Europe must be white," and "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust."

A smaller group of counterprotestors spoke out against the demonstrations, which resulted in minor confrontations between the two groups.

In recent years, right-leaning groups in Poland have used the country's Independence Day as backdrop for nationalist demonstrations. The holiday marks the re-establishment of Poland as a sovereign nation in November 1918. That was 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg, and Russian empires divided Poland between themselves in the aftermath of the Polish-Russian War.

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