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Richard Spencer

Poland objects to visit by Richard Spencer

Poland's foreign ministry has said it opposes a planned visit by US white nationalist Richard Spencer, whom a Polish conservative group has invited to an Independence Day seminar in November.

Published: October 30, 2017, 8:23 am

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    Spencer coined the term “alt-right” as head of the National Policy Institute, a pro-white think-tank in the United States.

    “In connection with the information regarding the planned participation of Richard B. Spencer in a seminar organised by the National Social Congress on the occasion of this year’s independence Day celebrations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its strong opposition to visits to Poland by individuals who propagate views that are based on racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideas,” the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement posted to its Twitter account.

    “As a country which was one of the biggest victims of Nazism, we believe that the ideas promoted by Mr Spencer and his followers could pose a threat to all those who hold dear the values of human rights and democracy.

    “We also believe that the views voiced by Mr Spencer are in conflict with the legal order of the Republic of Poland. In our opinion, Mr Spencer’s controversial activities and the proclamation of slogans referring to Nazism do not correspond to the character and seriousness of the official events commemorating the regaining of Poland’s independence.”

    But the Polish government did not clarify whether Spencer would be prevented from entering the country.

    Earlier this month, the Polish National Social Congress (KNS) announced on its Facebook page that Spencer would be a panelist at its “Europe of future” debate in Warsaw on 10 November, on the eve of Poland’s Independence Day.

    On Monday, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) called on Polish authorities to ban Spencer from taking part in the event.

    “We believe it is necessary for authorities to send out a clear, strong signal that taking part in Richard B. Spencer’s activities is unacceptable,” AJC Central Europe director Agnieszka Markiewicz wrote in the Gazeta Wyborcza, a Polish daily.

    The Associated Press has contacted a spokesperson for the Polish Border Guard about the ban, but they declined to answer, citing privacy concerns.

    Spencer had co-organized a conference titled “The Future of Europe — Perspectives on Geopolitics, Identity and Nationalism” in Budapest in October 2014 but the event was cancelled by the interior minister, who described the speakers as “proponents of racist ideologies”.

    He was subsequently banned from 26 countries in the EU for three years. That period of banishment ended this month.

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