Fact Check

Were Anti-Immigrant Demonstrations in Poland Ignored by News Media?

Nationalists marched on Poland's independence day (11 November 2015), but the demonstrations weren't ignored by news media in Europe.

Published Nov. 23, 2015

Massive anti-immigrant demonstrations in Poland were ignored by news media in Europe.
What's True

On 11 November 2015, nationalists in Poland marched to protest immigration and mark the country's independence day.

What's False

The news media in Europe buried the story.

Global debate about the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis escalated sharply following the 13 November 2015 Paris attacks; one manner by which misinformation consistently spread both before and after that event involved barriers of language and media between Europe and the United States.

Sortly after the Paris attacks, American social media users began spreading the image reproduced above, claiming that a massive anti-refugee march had occurred in Poland but the "MSM" (mainstream media) in Europe colluded to cover the story up.

Many viewers inferred that the Polish march was a response to the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015, surmising Poles were simply fed up with refugees and took to the streets in response to the tragedy in France:

The article linked in the tweet embedded above was published by the Gateway Pundit on 23 November 2015 (titled "VIDEO=> Over 100,000 Polish Patriots March in Warsaw Against Islamic Invasion"). The article included embedded tweets dating back as far as 12 November 2015, but its body text left the implicit impression that the depicted marches were a reaction to the Paris attacks, especially in statements such as "Hundreds of candles were lit at the French Embassy in Warsaw following the ISIS Paris massacre."

The march in question did occur, but it took place on 11 November 2015 (two days prior to the attacks on Paris). No one marching in the demonstrations was riled up about those events.

Social media claims about the marches in Poland further held that the events were ignored or purposely covered up by Europe's mainstream media. That was easily proved false, as Britain's Telegraph ("EU flag burned as tens of thousands join Warsaw nationalist demo"), Russia's RT ("'Communists will be hanging': Nationalist march commemorates Poland's Independence Day"), Financial Times ("Polish nationalists rail against Brussels in show of strength"), Radio Poland ("Poland commemorates Independence Day"), Bloomberg ("Thousands March on Independence Day as Police Converge on Warsaw"), Britain's Express ("EU flag burned as thousands join nationalist march in Poland"), and U.S. News & World Report ("Polish extreme nationalists hold large anti-migrant march on Independence Day") all covered the rally on or around 11 November 2015 (as did independent social media accounts).

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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