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London mayor Sadiq Khan takes aim at Poland and Hungary’s ‘populist’ leaders

Warsaw, Poland – London mayor Sadiq Khan has accused the nationalist leaders in Poland and Hungary of using a populist rhetoric and hate speech reminiscent of the 1930’s.

Speaking in the northern coastal Polish city of Gdansk at an event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, Sadiq Khan took aim at populist leaders all across Europe and the world whose rhetoric resemble the 1930’s, according to him.

“Are we living through times now similar to the 1930’s? Because if you look at the 1930’s, what happened – the rise of charismatic leaders using the power of hatred to divide communities and to pick on the other”, Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani heritage, told the audience in Poland.

“Look at the language of Donald Trump and some other leaders who are winning elections across Europe, from Hungary to Poland, to France, to Italy, to the U.K. They say Islam and the West are incompatible”, Khan, who has clashed with the U.S. President on many occasions in the past, said.

His statements were a clear reference, among others, to Poland’s Law and Justice party and Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party in Hungary, accused of fear-mongering towards migrants, refugees and sexual minorities.

The mayor of London was taking part to events commemorating the start of World War II, traditionally held in the coastal city in the north of Poland. This year, the government decided to move the official ceremonies from Gdansk, a strong bastion of the opposition which still hosted a number of events, to Warsaw.

A number of European and world leaders gathered over the week-end in the Polish capital. Although initially scheduled to attend, U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled his visit at the last minute, saying he needed to stay to monitor Hurricane Dorian, sending Vice-President Mike Pence instead.

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