Protests against anti-abortion ruling flood the country

Protests against a recent Constitutional Tribunal ruling which places a near-total ban on abortion are taking place all across Poland. The largest event, the “March on Warsaw” has blocked the city centre of the country’s capital. Protesters have been attacked by far-right groups.

The demonstrations in Warsaw under the name “March on Warsaw” organised by the All-Polish Women’s Strike began at 5 PM. Protesters gathered in three locations: the Castle Square, Zawisza Square, and at the Prime Minister’s Chancellery. All three gatherings marched towards the city centre, to meet at Roman Dmowski roundabout. The crowd subsequently began moving north, to the district of Żoliborz, where ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński lives.

According to deputy mayor of Warsaw Paweł Rabiej, tens of thousands of people are taking part in the events in the capital.

Warsaw police have confirmed that in the area around Charles de Gaulle roundabout, far-right nationalist groups attacked the protesting crowd. Some were hit by firecrackers and other objects. The group of men dressed in black, according to the description of a Polish Press Agency journalist, was overpowered and subsequently detained.

Several Civic Coalition MPs have confirmed that one of their MPs, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, was pepper-sprayed when he tried to intervene during an attack on protesters by the group of nationalists. On Twitter he wrote that he got sprayed when the group of men was being separated from other protesters.

Social activist Jan Śpiewak also confirmed he was attacked by the far-right group. On Twitter he posted video footage from the attack. “Nazis have attacked peaceful protesters. I was hit by a flare in the face,” he wrote.

Protests against the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling are also taking place in other cities across the country, including smaller towns. People are protesting on foot as well as in cars, blocking main traffic routes.