Disabled protesters end parliament sit-in after 40 days

“The decision has been made unanimously,” said Iwona Hartwich, the leader of the protest, with regard to ending the 40-day sit-in at the Polish lower house.

Protest in parliament building escalates before NATO meeting

Tempers flare as the Warsaw protest of disabled people and their families enters the 37th day.

see more

Speaking to Polish Radio, Ms Hartwich promised that the protest was not ending, but that it was simply being taken elsewhere.

“We are worried about our health and the health of our children,” Ms Hartwich said, adding that they had been barred access to the media rooms in the parliament.

She went on to emphasize that the decision to leave the parliament was the “sovereign decision” of the protesters, for which none of the ruling Law and Justice party’s MPs can take credit.

Ms Hartwich claimed that the protesters had been considering leaving the parliament since a scuffle on Thursday, “when everybody abandoned [the protesters] including the President and the Prime Minister.”

Last week, several of the protesting mothers tried to hang banners in English out of a first-floor window in an attempt to attract international attention, however, according to the protesters, these were forcibly taken down by the parliamentary security services.

“No compromise has been taken into serious consideration by the ruling party,” Ms Hartwich added.

The disabled protest began on April 18. Protesters have conceded that one of their demands has been met with regard to raising social benefits. A new bill has increased these from PLN 865 (EUR 200) to PLN 1,030 (EUR 240).

Joanna Kopcińska, a press officer for the incumbent government, has assured protesters that they are “ready to meet at a time that is comfortable for [the protesters],” adding that “Prime Minister Morawiecki is especially sensitive to the plight of those who need the biggest help from the state.”

Meanwhile, Grzegorz Schetyna, the leader of the largest opposition party Civic Platform, tweeted that the protesters “showed what courage and determination to succeed are, what having a big heart and parental love mean.”