A Polish prince from London has reiterated his offer to challenge Ukip leader Nigel Farage as Polish migrants were urged to stage a strike to highlight their contribution to the UK economy.
Prince John (Yanek) Zylinski, the aristocratic son of a Polish war hero who led a triumphant charge against the Nazis near Warsaw in 1939, helping save 6,000 Jews, had initially challenged Farage to a duel over the immigration question when he posted a YouTube video in the run-up to the general election earlier in 2015 but the politician never accepted the contest.
Zylinski, who stood opposite Westminster on 20 August alongside Polish migrants on strike, repeated his offer to challenge the party leader. "It's enough to go on to the websites of the Daily Mail and Daily Express and see the buckets and bucketloads of ordure – to use a very elegant word to describe s**t – which are thrown against the Poles every single day. It is racism, of course," he told IBTimes UK.
"People think its not racism because we've got white skins, but we've become a whipping boy for all migrants and new comers, anybody who's different. I say enough is enough.
"That's why I issued a challenge to Nigel Farage three months ago and I offered him the possibility of a duel with me using my father's sword in Hyde Park at dawn. He turned me down, the coward.The offer is still open, Nigel. I'm ready and willing. If your sword is a bit rusty and you don't actually want a sword fight, I'm very happy to meet you in a TV studio to have a debate."
Zylinski, who recently announced he wishes to be a candidate for the London mayoral elections, which will be held on 5 May 2016, called on Poles to vote. He said: "I am asking all Polish people to register on the electoral roll and get the right to vote here – which they have anyway but they need to register – and next May there are the mayoral elections. I'm standing for Mayor of London and they need to use their vote if they want to change things, because what matters is permanent change, not just a demonstration and a bit of media interest."
Low turnout at Polish workers' strike
While around 1,000 migrants were expected to descent on to the Houses of Parliament, only a dozen were present, after being were urged by the Polish Express newspaper to stage an unofficial strike on 20 August. The protest was criticised by the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, which represents more than 60 Polish member organisations, but Zylinski blamed the low turnout on a lack of organisation.
He said: "I didn't think the idea of a strike and a demonstration was a good idea – not appropriate. It wasn't actually organised properly, there were no leaders of the community and it was kind of spontaneous. People were confused about it."
According to him, "the situation isn't that bad yet, there are no concentration camps where Polish workers are being herded into, so [the strike] is not necessary".
'Time to fight back'
But a 35-year-old Polish man, who has been in the UK since beginning of 2012, explained he was attending the strike because he was "struggling".
After having worked for a year as a kitchen assistant or a gardener, George (not his real name) said he has been unable to find work.
"Working as a kitchen porter was not my field but I had no choice. I am overly educated yet I cannot find work. I have been unemployed such a long time, unfortunately," he told IBTimes UK. George added it was "time to fight back, to protect people, to survive".
A number of British campaigners also stood opposite the Houses of Parliament. Michael Bradley, a Socialist Workers party industrial organiser, said he was striking because Polish migrants were being targeted just simply for working.
He said: "There are nearly one million people from England and Britain living in Spain, and there's not an outcry about that stuff over here, right? They're just living in those communities, and I think that at heart, this is racism. It's just simply targeting people because they are different and try and use them as a bogey figure to blame for every other problem there is in society."