- Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of the Polish capital, Warsaw.
- They are demonstrating against the policies of the national conservative PiS government.
- According to the Warsaw city government, up to one million people participated.
- It is the largest demonstration in Warsaw’s history.
The demonstrators repeatedly chant: “We will win!” We will win!” Polish opposition supporters march through central Warsaw in the “March of a Million Hearts.” In some places in the city center, the endless demonstration procession takes more than an hour to pass.
According to the city administration, about one million people expressed their dissatisfaction with the policies of the conservative nationalist Law and Justice Party government. “This is the largest demonstration in the history of Warsaw,” says the city council spokeswoman. According to its own calculations, the Onet.pl portal has 800,000 participants.
The National Conservatives lead in all opinion polls
“Nothing can stop this power,” says opposition leader Donald Tusk, enthusiastic about his success. Whether this will actually happen will be determined on October 15. Poland then elects a new parliament. So far, the National Conservatives, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, are leading in all opinion polls.
In order to properly rally their supporters on home soil, Tusk’s liberal-conservative Citizens’ Coalition called for a “March of a Million Hearts.” The left-wing Luika coalition also supported the demonstration. Despite the cold autumn weather, people from all over the country flocked to downtown Warsaw.
I’m embarrassed by this government, this entire country
“I want an open European Poland. “We want to look to the future rather than constantly digging into the past and looking for any hostilities with neighbors like Germany,” says Iona, who traveled with her husband Andrej from Białystok in the east of the country.
The Prime Minister criticizes Tusk
Tomasz Schulke wears a red-haired wig during the demonstration – just like his friends Marek and Franciszek. The 60-year-old courtier from Toruń explains that the wigs are a reference to agitation against public broadcaster TVP, which is controlled by PiS and whose presenter described Tusk as “red-haired and mean.” “I’m embarrassed by this government, and this entire country.”
While the opposition marches through the streets of Warsaw, PiS holds an election campaign in Katowice, Silesia. Once again, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is playing the anti-German card. He told the audience: “Donald Tusk listened to Angela Merkel, who whispered in his ear about the need to raise the retirement age.” The Law and Justice Party has been trying for years to discredit Tusk as a subservient to Germany.
If you believe the polls, PiS has a good chance of staying in power after October 15th. This time, however, it may need a coalition partner, and it may find one in the far-right Confederaga party. This party calls for a complete ban on abortion, and its representatives are not shy about anti-Semitic conspiracy myths. Konfederacja is especially popular among young people from the countryside.
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