On Wednesday, thousands of people took to the streets of Polish cities and went on strike across the country to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to ban almost all abortions, despite the country’s leading politicians calling on his conservative supporters to “defend Poland”.
This strike was mainly led by women and marked the sixth consecutive day of protest against the court’s actions.
Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Ruling Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said in a speech to opposition figures in Congress on Wednesday: “You are crushing Poland, destroying many people, and criminals.”
In a video posted on Facebook the night before, he was called “weapon defense and patriotism” by supporters.
Kaczynski added: “In particular, we must defend Polish churches.” “We must defend them at all costs.”
He said: “This is the only way we can win this war.”
On Wednesday, thousands of women rushed out of the office from many men and stopped work in dozens of cities including Gdansk, Lodz, Warsaw and Wroclaw, as well as some smaller towns such as Poland. Siemiatycze in the east was once a stronghold of the city. Law and Justice Party.
In Warsaw, a large group of people (most of whom were covered by the coronavirus) marched to the parliament, blocked traffic, and chanted “Come with us!” People watching from windows and balconies along the way.
Many protesters held signs with anti-government slogans and umbrellas, which became a symbol of protests against abortion efforts in 2016.
“My womb is not your playground,” a sign read. Another said: “I hope I can suspend my government.”
Since the country’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling on Thursday tightening Europe’s strictest abortion laws, cities and towns across the country have been harassed by protests. The decision cannot be appealed because the pregnancy was terminated due to an abnormal fetus, which is actually the only type of abortion currently available in the country. Pregnancies caused by rape and pregnancy threatening women’s lives are still official laws.
Mr. Kaczynski’s call to suppress demonstrations may further aggravate the country’s increasingly turbulent situation. At the same time, the country is battling the largest coronavirus outbreak since the spring pandemic.
The former chairman of the European Commission and a major figure in the opposition, Donald Tusk, commented on the government on Twitter, saying: “When others are preparing to fight the virus, you are preparing to fight the country.” “Retreat before the tragedy happens.”
Women, many of whom are decorated with red lightning, have become the iconic image of the movement, leading the recent demonstrations, but they have received support from numerous groups opposed to the government, including farmers and miners.
Moreover, this is the first time Catholics are angry with the public.Poland is still a devout religious country, and activists interrupted church services on Sunday
Right-wing extremists quickly seized on the protest.
Robert Bakivic, the leader of a supranationalist organization, said that he will form a “Catholic Self-Defense Force” to fight against the “New Bolshevik revolutionaries.”
He told reporters: “The sword of justice envelops them. If necessary, we will smash them into dust and destroy the revolution.” “If the Polish state cannot give us this kind of security, we will take action.”
His supporters clashed with demonstrators outside St. Alexander’s Church in the center of Warsaw this week. The image of one of them throwing a young girl off the church steps has become widespread across the country.
According to local radio reports, the police deployed tear gas outside Jasna Gola Monastery in Czestochowa, one of the holiest Catholic shrines in Poland, to separate the protesters from the nationalists. According to the local news website TenPoznan, in Poznan, protesters held a sit-in at the cathedral and a young girl was beaten by nationalists who opposed the organization.
In another demonstration in Warsaw on Monday, a car hit two women who participated in the protest. Some observers said that it appeared that the car was deliberately driven into a crowd. The police said that one of the women was treated in the hospital and was later released.
On Wednesday, Gazeta Wyborcza, the country’s largest daily newspaper, reported that the driver was a 44-year-old government security official from the Internal Security Agency. According to the authorities, he has been detained by the police.
The intensification of public turmoil and the pandemic exacerbated the current uncertainty and led to a series of significant painful exchanges in the Polish Parliament.
Opposition lawmakers were wearing black clothes with protest signs when they were facing legal and judicial personnel, and tried to approach Mr. Kaczynski on Tuesday.
Mr. Kaczynski, who is protected by the Security Service of Parliament, condemned the opposition as “Russian agents”, and Female legislators of law and justice protected him with their bodies.
Cezary Tomczyk, the parliamentary leader of the main opposition party “Citizen Platform”, accused Mr. Kaczynski of calling for “lynching” and condemned what he called “militias” loyal to the ruling party.
Mr. Kaczynski replied that it was the opposition that incited civil unrest and endangered public health.
He said: “You will be held accountable.”
After arriving at the parliament on Wednesday, the demonstrators tried to block the exit, blaming the police guarding the building.
“We stop action for the lawmakers,” said Marta Lempart, one of the leaders of the women’s strike, through a megaphone. She added: “We will do our best not to let them leave.”
The voice in the crowd said: “Until the end of the Middle Ages in Poland.”
Anatol Magdziarz contributed the report from Warsaw.