A number of far-right groups in Poland have carried out a protest outside Facebook’s Warsaw office after the social networking giant blocked their profiles ahead of the nationalist marches scheduled for the country’s Independence Day on 11 November, International Business Times reports.
Roughly 120 people gathered in Poland’s capital city on Saturday 5 November, publicly accusing Facebook of censoring free speech. Groups at the rally included the National Radical Camp and All-Polish Youth, reported the Associated Press (AP).
The groups in attendance called on Facebook to respect freedom of expression and to abide by the Polish legal system.
According to AP, Krzysztof Bosak of the National Movement said during the rally: “What Facebook does is not in line with our constitutional rights.”
On the social network, a group that claims to “monitor for racist and xenophobic behavior” published a statement that indicated it was behind the reporting of the far-right profiles – all of which have since been restored.
“The Facebook pages of the Independence March, All-Polish Youth, National-Radical Camp and the National Movement have all disappeared,” the monitoring group said in the post, which was put online on 26 October. “The profiles of their activists have also been blocked,” it continued.
“This loss hurts, because nationalists used the service to collect money for the Independence March, which will take place in Warsaw on 11 November,” it added. “We will let you in on a secret. In the coming days, we will hit 50 more right-wing pages. Good night white pride.”
The 11 November march is well-known for escalating into violent clashes between protesters and police.
During the event last year, as The Telegraph reported at the time, extremist groups marched under the slogan of “Poland for the Polish” and burned a European Union (EU) flag.
“Yesterday it was Moscow, today it’s Brussels which takes away our freedom,” chanted one group at the time. While police said 25,000 people attended the rally, the organisers of the march – set up to commemorate Poland’s independence after the First World War – said the figure was 50,000-strong.