PES decries state violence in Poland and calls for defence of democracy

19/11/2020

Protesters in Poland

A demonstrator holds a banner reading "Choice - not prohibition" at a pro-choice protest in central Warsaw last night. Photo: AFP / Belga

The violent suppression of peaceful protesters in Poland must stop, the PES said today as it warned the Polish government is taking yet another turn towards authoritarianism. The situation in the country overnight proves yet again why a tough EU stance on the Rule of Law is necessary.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“Just as Poland seeks to frustrate the new Rule of Law mechanism at the EU level, its own domestic policy demonstrates why it is so necessary.

“In Europe people are allowed to peacefully protest for what they believe in. It is a fundamental democratic right. The Law and Justice Party clearly do not believe in that right and will do anything to stop people having a voice, including threatening MPs and using police violence. The PES is sounding the alarm: Europe must no longer tolerate this.

“We condemn the violence directed towards the peaceful protesters, including Lewica MPs who are defending women against the government’s cruel policies. The PES stands in solidarity with Lewica and the peaceful protesters.”

Yesterday, plainclothes police in Warsaw beat and detained peaceful protesters who had gathered in the streets close to parliament to demonstrate against the government’s recent attacks on women’s rights. MPs from Lewica joined the protests and were also subjected to police violence - Magda Biejat MP was pepper-sprayed whilst presenting her identification and Wlodzimierz Czarzasty, leader of Lewica and deputy speaker of the Parliament, was also assaulted.

Deputy Prime Minister Kaczynski from the PiS had ordered the police to use all necessary force against the protesters and has declared in parliament that opposition MPs may go to jail.

Last month the PES condemned the Polish government for cracking down on women’s rights in the country.