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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish conservative leader slams ‘criminal’ opposition for inciting abortion demos

28.10.2020 17:30
Polish conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński on Wednesday lashed out at the “criminal” opposition for encouraging street protests over abortion laws amid an escalating epidemic.
Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński in parliament on Wednesday.
Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński in parliament on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

“You are destroying Poland; you are exposing many people to the risk of death. You are criminals,” Kaczyński, the head of the governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, said in parliament.

His comments came after six straight days of demonstrations in a slew of cities against a ruling by Poland’s top court which in practice signals a near-total ban on abortion in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.

On Tuesday, Kaczyński called on supporters to defend churches, warning that “attacks” by pro-abortion protesters on places of worship aim to "destroy Poland".

Those remarks prompted fierce criticism in parliament on Wednesday by Cezary Tomczyk, from the opposition Civic Platform party.

He accused Kaczyński of inciting “lynch mobs, calling for PiS militias to be set up” and sent against protesters.

Tomczyk told Kaczyński: "Yesterday you acted against Polish citizens. That is not only deeply immoral, not only scandalous, but it is a serious crime against the nation and against Polish citizens, a serious crime for which you will have to pay."

On Wednesday evening, protesters gathered in front of the parliament building in central Warsaw.

Demonstrations were also being held in other major cities, including Kraków and Katowice in the south, and Szczecin in the northwest.

Waves of street protests erupted around Poland after a decision on Thursday by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal that abortion of a malformed foetus violates the constitution.

Polish Catholic church officials have long called on the ruling party to introduce a complete ban on abortion.

Poland’s interior minister has warned that police will take “decisive action” against demonstrators who target churches in “acts of aggression and desecration.”

Officials on Wednesday reported a record 18,820 new coronavirus infections and a record 236 new deaths, its worst daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

(pk)

Source: PAP/IAR