37 people were detained in Warsaw following the giant protest held on Friday evening against a ruling of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal that would tighten the country's already restrictive abortion legislation. According to Warsaw police, 35 of those detained have links with football hooligan groupings.
A spokesman for the Warsaw Police Headquarters said that the protest in Warsaw had been illegal and since there was no prior information about its route, police could not secure it properly. He also added that the protest had been "very orderly" in spite of several incidents.
Friday had been the eighth day of mass demonstrations in Poland against tightening abortion laws.
The biggest of the gatherings was in Warsaw, where thousands first convened in the capital's centre, then began marching towards the Żoliborz district, where Polish conservative leader and deputy PM Jarosław Kaczyński lives.
Demonstrations were also being held in a number of other cities, including Gdańsk and Gdynia in the north, Wrocław in the southwest and Kraków in the south.
More protests have been announced for next week.
The street protests were sparked by a decision on Thursday by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal that abortion of a malformed foetus violates the constitution.
On Friday, before the latest wave of demonstrations, Polish President Andrzej Duda said he had submitted a bill to allow terminations of foetuses with serious defects which would have been born dead.
He said his proposal would allow abortions in cases when “prenatal tests or other medical indications point to a high probability that a child will be born dead or… with an incurable disease or defect that will inevitably and directly lead to the death of the child,” regardless of doctors’ efforts.
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