Tens of thousands of Poles of all ages and affiliations gathered in numerous places all over the country on another day of protests that have been ongoing since Thursday against the Constitutional Court’s ruling on tightening the abortion law.
Crowds are marching through the streets of Katowice, Kraków, Łódź, Szczecin, Warsaw and many other cities and towns. In the capital city, demonstrators arrived at the parliament building.
Some universities gave professors a free hand to release students from classes to let them attend manifestations.
The Sejm was a field of verbal clashes and arguments itself on Wednesday. Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party accused the opposition of inciting the mass protests.
"We have a very high level of emergency in Poland today due to the epidemic”, he said, adding that this state excludes public gatherings of more than five people.
Mr Kaczyński went on saying that demonstrations are taking place at the opposition’s instigation.
"You destroy Poland, expose a lot of people to death, you are criminals", he added.
The speech of the PiS leader triggered a statement by the head of the KO club, Cezary Tomczyk. After the resumption of the session, MP Tomczyk requested that the agenda be extended to include a report on state security. Addressing Mr Kaczyński, he said that in Tuesday's speech the PiS president "called for lynching, to build PiS militias to be sent against the protesters."
Tusk calls on govt to withdraw from warpath against nation
In response to the words of Mr Kaczyński, Donald Tusk, the former Polish PM and former European Council head said that Poland was one of the worst prepared EU states with regard to the autumn wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
“When others were making preparations for fighting the virus, you were preparing for fighting against the nation. Withdraw from this war before tragedy comes,” Mr Tusk appealed on Wednesday.
Opposition demands information on development of pandemic
In turn, the opposition MPs accused Kaczyński of inciting citizens to face off against each other on the streets after his speech on Tuesday. During the speech, the PiS leader called for churches to be protected from crowds of demonstrators.
“You have led [the country] to a situation in which Internal Security Agency (ABW) officers attack the protesters, unfortunately with full deliberation,” said Krzysztof Gawkowski, the head of the Left parliamentary club.
Mr Gawkowski referred to a situation on Monday when a car ran over two women from the protesting crowd in Warsaw. One of the women was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The driver ran away from the scene, but was later detained; according to unofficial sources, he was an ABW officer.
Polish People’s Party (PSL) MP Krzysztof Paszyk appealed for the ruling party to provide information from the authorities about the situation related to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions introduced.
"Today, fear and uncertainty are present in many Polish homes. A responsible government should respond to this, not incite society”, he said.
Protests against the tightening of the abortion law have been ongoing all over Poland since Thursday - following the Constitutional Court’s ruling, according to which the provision, under the 1993 Act, allowing the admissibility of abortion in the case of a high probability of severe and irreversible defect of the foetus or an incurable disease that threatens its life, is unconstitutional. The court itself is viewed by the opposition as being dominated by ruling party (PiS) nominees and thus under the influence of its leader, Jarosław Kaczyński.