Independence March takes place in Warsaw

The marchers are passing along Jerozolimskie Avenue, one of Warsaw’s main roads, and will proceed across the River Vistula to the National Stadium where the march will end around 7 pm. Leszek Szymański/PAP

An Independence March organised by nationalist groups to mark Poland's Independence Day has set off from the centre of Warsaw.

The rally is held in Warsaw every year to mark Poland's Independence Day on November 11 has often been marred by violence by nationalist extremists in the past.

Large numbers of police have been deployed in central Warsaw, and the route is also patrolled by police helicopters.

The marchers are passing along Jerozolimskie Avenue, one of Warsaw’s main roads, and will proceed across the River Vistula to the National Stadium where the march will end around 7 pm.

Among the participants are some government officials including justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, while a group of motorcyclists led the rally.

Meanwhile, a counter-demonstration organised by left-wing groups is also taking place along an alternative route in central Warsaw. Its participants are carrying banners with slogans such as "Nationalism is not patriotism," as well as rainbow flags.

Trucks and barriers, guarded by police officers, have been set up to separate the two rallies.