Tear gas fired as police block Warsaw march against abortion ruling

Police and protesters in Poland
Support us and go ad-free

Police have blocked protesters from marching in Poland’s capital as demonstrations took place across the country against an attempt to restrict abortion rights and recent police violence.

Action

In Warsaw police set up cordons which the protesters sought to evade, pushing them to try to regroup elsewhere in the city centre.

At one point, protest participants gathered on a major thoroughfare, causing traffic to back up. As drivers honked, the protesters shouted:

We are sorry for the inconvenience, we have a government to overthrow.

Police issued warnings that the demonstration was illegal because it had not been registered ahead of time. It also violated a pandemic-related ban on large gatherings.

“We have a right to protest”, participants chanted.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
Police use tear gas against Barbara Nowacka
Police use tear gas against Barbara Nowacka (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Officers at one point used tear gas against opposition legislator Barbara Nowacka who had been intervening “in defence of peacefully protesting women”, said Borys Budka, the head of Poland’s centrist Civic Platform party.

Women’s Rights Roundabout

Protesters in the capital began their demonstration by symbolically “renaming” a central square to Women’s Rights Roundabout. An activist climbed on to a ladder on a van to hang a new street sign over the official one reading Roman Dmowski Roundabout.

Women’s rights activists want authorities to formally approve the name change. They say it would honour a movement for equality rather than Dmowski, a statesman who had a key role in helping Poland regain national independence in 1918, but who was also an antisemite.

Protests in Krakow, Gdansk, and other cities were organised to celebrate Polish women gaining the right to vote 102 years ago. The events were planned under the slogan “In the name of mother, daughter, sister”.

Mass movement

The demonstrations are part of what has evolved into Poland’s largest protest movement since communism fell in the country 30 years ago.

An October 22 ruling by the Polish constitutional court to ban abortions of foetuses with congenital defects, even when the foetus has no chance of survival at birth, sparked the protests.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us