An estimated 47,000-strong rally marked the 101st Polish Independence Day in Warsaw on Monday. As the red-flare smoke cleared, a clash of narratives emerged.
Same as during previous years, the issues of LGBT+ rights, immigration and minority politics revealed a divide between Poland’s liberal and nationalists blocks.
Wirtualna Polska poll, published by the Polish daily Wiadomosci, revealed that 43 percent of respondents had a positive opinion about the march, while 22 percent a negative view and 35 were undecided.
Moving the poll along political faultlines, 65 percent of the ruling PiS party supporters held a positive, and 16 percent a negative view about the rally, while the proportions reversed among the liberal Civil Coalition supporters – 42 and 28 percent, respectively.
Notes from Poland, an online English-language website, reported that a counter-rally gathered 12,000 participants based on the figures provided by its organisers.
The symbol of the march this year was a raised fist holding a rosary, which the organizers called a symbol of Roman Catholic resistance to growing calls for gay rights in the country, according to Deutsche Welle.
Although the yearly march is organized by far-right bodies, many families have also joined the event in recent years, seeing it as a simple display of patriotism. While the city authorities estimated the number of participants at 47,000, the organisers boasted a far greater tally of 150,000.
Taking a path through fragmented tweets, here is how the day unfolded via political banners, red flares, and divisive narratives.
Rally participants chant "a boy and a girl, a regular family," according to the translation provided by Notes From Poland. The tweet is uploaded by Poland's Radio Maryja, a Catholic media.
Spokesperson of Warsaw City Hall provided the estimated number of 47,000 participants.
Black block hold banners proclaiming a Polish 'Intifada', an Arabic word meaning the shake-off, which is synonymous the Palestinian uprisings against Israel.
Counter-protesters holding banners with the word 'Constitution' were removed by the police after blocking the rally route.
Polish, EU and LGBT+ flags in the counter-demonstration.
The Cleric Cross, associated with the European far-right, made an appearance.
Counter-protesters hang 'Nazis begone' banner.
Anti-abortion activists were also present.