- In Poland, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against a controversial ruling by the Constitutional Court, and protesting their country’s stay in the European Union on Sunday night.
- There were large protests in Warsaw, Gdansk, Pozna, Szczecin, Krakow and many other cities.
- In Warsaw there was also a counter-demonstration by right-wing nationalist groups.
In the capital, Warsaw, demonstrators gathered in Palace Square. They waved Polish and European flags and shouted “We stay” and “We are Europe”. Polish media are reporting as many as 100,000 protesters in Warsaw alone.
The country’s Constitutional Court recently ruled that some elements of EU law violate the Polish constitution. This gave priority to national law over EU law. This decision fuels the struggle between the European Union Commission and Warsaw over reform of the Polish judicial system.
Tusk: Poland’s place in Europe
Former European Union Council President and Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk has called for protests. During his appearance in front of protesters in Warsaw, he said that the ruling conservative nationalist party PIS no longer talks about the desire to take the country out of the European Union. “Poland’s place in Europe,” Tusk said. “We will win because we are more!” Both Tusk and other speakers were repeatedly interrupted by loud interventions and chants from a counter-demonstration by right-wing nationalist groups.
The people who run the country today are a great misfortune for Poland
In Gdansk, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Polish President Lech Walesa spoke to protesters. “The people who run the state today are a great misfortune for Poland,” said the former president of the Solidarnosc Union. No enemy who has ever ruled Poland has divided the people of the country as the PiS has.
Broadcasting by state television TVP, which critics see, mostly, the government’s view in one side, it showed a tape titled “Protest against the Polish Constitution” during its coverage of events on Sunday.
The PIS government has been restructuring the judiciary for years. Her critics accuse her of putting pressure on judges. Because of the reforms, the EU Commission has already opened several infringement proceedings against Warsaw and submitted complaints to the EU Court of Justice.
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