One of the most prominent figures in the U.S. white supremacist movement has been banned from entering 26 European countries for the next five years, it has been reported by Polish State News Agency, PAP.
Richard Spencer, head of Virginia-based think tank the National Policy Institute (NPI), is credited as among those responsible for popularizing the term "Alt-Right," in which racist, anti-immigrant and anti-semitic sentiments converge.
Responding to the ban, which covers the entire Schengen Area, Spencer told Associated Press: "I’m being treated like a criminal by the Polish government. It’s just insane. I haven’t done anything. What are they accusing me of?"
The ban follows comments made last month by Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, who described Spencer as someone "who defames what happened during World War II, defames the Holocaust. He should not appear publicly, and especially not in Poland."
Poland is no stranger to white supremacists. Earlier this month, it played host to a rally of 60,000 Europeans chanting slogans such as "White Europe" and "We Want God," the latter in reference to a hymn cited by U.S. President Donald Trump during his visit to Warsaw.
On prominent display throughout was the Falanga symbol: a hand holding a sword, the image dates back to the Polish nationalist movement of the 1930s and remains popular with the right wing of today.
Spencer is a staunch advocate of an Aryan homeland for what he describes as a "dispossessed" white race, and has called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" in order to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture.
"Our dream is a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans," he has been quoted as saying. "It would be a new society based on very different ideals than, say, the Declaration of Independence."
In 2015, Spencer was due to attend a far-right event in Poland, but protests led by the progressive, anti-racist Never Again Association prompted the government to cancel the event.
Earlier this month, Spencer cancelled travel plans to Warsaw, saying he felt threatened by the government: "It just didn’t feel like it was worth it."