Protesters in Poland decry government’s recent actions as anti-democratic News
YuryRymko / Pixabay
Protesters in Poland decry government’s recent actions as anti-democratic

Large crowds gathered in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday to protest against the nation’s government. The protest, led by former Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his party the Civic Coalition (KO), gathered to protest a recently proposed law, the cost of living, inflation and women’s rights—among other issues.

Tusk released an image of protesters on Twitter, claiming that as many as 500,000 Poles protested. Video footage captured protesters carrying Polish and EU flags alongside signs. Following the protest, KO released a statement declaring that nothing could stop the protesters’ voices. The protests echo those described by Human Rights Watch (HRW) last year, in which hundreds of thousands of Poles took to the streets to protest the nation’s near-total abortion ban.

Poland’s current government has been accused of violating democratic rights by approving a recent bill to create a commission to review potential Russian influence in Polish politics. Critics of the law have warned that it could be used to target Polish opposition parties, including Tusk’s. There are also fears that the law will worsen Poland’s relations with the European Commission, prompting the commission to condemn the law.  Tusk indicated that Sunday’s protests were meant as a “public consultation” regarding the law.

Tensions have been rising between the European Commission and Poland as only day after the protests, the EU high court issued a decision finding in favor of the commission. In the case, initially brought by the European Commission, the court found that Poland’s 2019 court reforms violated EU laws on effective judicial protection, judicial independence and the rule of law.