4.8 C
London
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Protesters clash with police in Warsaw in third night of protests over near-total ban on abortions

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Women’s right protesters clashed with police in Warsaw on Friday for a third night of demonstrations over a near-total ban on abortions with rape, incest or saving the mother’s life the only exemptions. 

Poles took to the streets of Warsaw, Gdansk and other cities for a third night of protests Friday, after a near-total ban left Poland with one of the most restrictive laws in Europe.

There were some small scuffles with police, who used tear gas on protesters. 

The constitutional court ruled in October to ban abortions in cases of fetal disorders, even severe and fatal ones, and the ruling finally became law on Wednesday.

That triggered a new eruption of the mass demonstrations that began October 22 and which have morphed into the largest protest movement in Poland in the three decades since communism fell.

Poles took to the streets of Warsaw, Gdansk and other cities for a third night of protests Friday, after a near-total ban left Poland with one of the most restrictive Abortion laws in Europe. Pictured: People take part in the 'Women's Strike' protest against the tightening of the abortion law in Warsaw, Poland, January 29

Poles took to the streets of Warsaw, Gdansk and other cities for a third night of protests Friday, after a near-total ban left Poland with one of the most restrictive Abortion laws in Europe. Pictured: People take part in the ‘Women’s Strike’ protest against the tightening of the abortion law in Warsaw, Poland, January 29

Tensions grew increasingly between protesters and police, who were out in large numbers Friday. Pictured: Police intervention during the 'Women's Strike' protest in Poland against the tightening of the abortion law, January 29

Tensions grew increasingly between protesters and police, who were out in large numbers Friday. Pictured: Police intervention during the ‘Women’s Strike’ protest in Poland against the tightening of the abortion law, January 29

The constitutional court ruled in October to ban abortions in cases of fetal disorders, even severe and fatal ones, and the ruling finally became law on Wednesday.

The constitutional court ruled in October to ban abortions in cases of fetal disorders, even severe and fatal ones, and the ruling finally became law on Wednesday.

The high court is under the political control of the governing right-wing Law and Justice party, which had faced pressure from an ultra-conservative group to further restrict what had already been one of the European Union's most restrictive abortion laws. Pictured: Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a meeting with organisations involved in the fight against the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, in Presidential Palace in Warsaw, 29

The high court is under the political control of the governing right-wing Law and Justice party, which had faced pressure from an ultra-conservative group to further restrict what had already been one of the European Union’s most restrictive abortion laws. Pictured: Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a meeting with organisations involved in the fight against the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, in Presidential Palace in Warsaw, 29

Meanwhile, one of the leaders of the protest movement, Klementyna Suchanow, was released from police detention after being arrested the night before for entering the grounds of the constitutional court in Warsaw and nailing a poster to a door. 

The poster, she said, celebrated the recent liberalisation of the abortion law in Argentina and expressed hope Poland would be next.

Suchanow told The Associated Press that she was found guilty in a quick trial of various acts, including trespassing and putting nails in the door, and will have to report to a police station weekly and is also banned from being near the court.

The high court is under the political control of the governing right-wing Law and Justice party, which had faced pressure from an ultra-conservative group to further restrict what had already been one of the European Union’s most restrictive abortion laws. 

Mass nationwide protests have recurred repeatedly since then, growing into the largest protest movement in post-communist Poland.

The court’s judges argued that allowing abortion when there are congenital defects is unconstitutional because the Polish Constitution protects human life. 

The only remaining legal justifications for abortion under Polish law are if the woman’s life or health is at risk or if a pregnancy results from rape or incest. 

To date, about 98 percent of all legal abortions in the country – of which there were 1,110 in 2019 – were performed on the grounds of fetal malformations.  

Opponents call the law draconian, noting that it forces women to carry to term even fetuses with lethal defects or with disorders so considerable they could live their entire lives severely disabled or in a vegetative state. 

Opponents call the law draconian, noting that it forces women to carry to term even fetuses with lethal defects or with disorders so considerable they could live their entire lives severely disabled or in a vegetative state. Pictured: A demonstrator holds up a cloth hanger as others light flares during a pro-choice demonstration in front of the constitutional court in Warsaw

Opponents call the law draconian, noting that it forces women to carry to term even fetuses with lethal defects or with disorders so considerable they could live their entire lives severely disabled or in a vegetative state. Pictured: A demonstrator holds up a cloth hanger as others light flares during a pro-choice demonstration in front of the constitutional court in Warsaw

Demonstrators, some with flares, block the street as they take part in pro-choice demonstration in the center of Warsaw on January 29. The only remaining legal justifications for abortion under Polish law are if the woman's life or health is at risk or if a pregnancy results from rape or incest

Demonstrators, some with flares, block the street as they take part in pro-choice demonstration in the center of Warsaw on January 29. The only remaining legal justifications for abortion under Polish law are if the woman’s life or health is at risk or if a pregnancy results from rape or incest

Police stand guard at the Pope John Paul II monument as People take part in the 'Women's Strike' protest against the tightening of the abortion law in Poland, January 29. one of the leaders of the protest movement, Klementyna Suchanow, was released from police detention after being arrested the night before for entering the grounds of the constitutional court in Warsaw and nailing a poster to a door

Police stand guard at the Pope John Paul II monument as People take part in the ‘Women’s Strike’ protest against the tightening of the abortion law in Poland, January 29. one of the leaders of the protest movement, Klementyna Suchanow, was released from police detention after being arrested the night before for entering the grounds of the constitutional court in Warsaw and nailing a poster to a door

Suchanow and Marta Lempart, the leaders of the Women's Strike group that has spearheaded street protests against the law, are now looking for inspiration to Argentina that legalised abortion at the end of 2020 in a landmark victory for women's right

Suchanow and Marta Lempart, the leaders of the Women’s Strike group that has spearheaded street protests against the law, are now looking for inspiration to Argentina that legalised abortion at the end of 2020 in a landmark victory for women’s right

Suchanow and Marta Lempart, the leaders of the Women’s Strike group that has spearheaded street protests against the law, are now looking for inspiration to Argentina.

Suchanow said Polish activists were already in contact with women’s rights activists in the South American nation to learn from their experiences. She said the struggle for a liberalized abortion law will now focus on bringing about deeper social change that she hopes will one day bear fruit when Poland has ‘a more reasonable government.’

‘It will take more time but we are working on that,’ said Suchanow, who is also an accomplished writer.

She said the election of President Joe Biden is also giving hope to many of the activists that change is possible.  

The high court decision triggered a new eruption of the mass demonstrations that began October 22 and which have morphed into the largest protest movement in Poland in the three decades since communism fell. Pictured: Leader of the Polish National Women's Strike Marta Lempart (right) takes part in a protest against the tightening of the abortion law

The high court decision triggered a new eruption of the mass demonstrations that began October 22 and which have morphed into the largest protest movement in Poland in the three decades since communism fell. Pictured: Leader of the Polish National Women’s Strike Marta Lempart (right) takes part in a protest against the tightening of the abortion law

Women's Strike said Friday that 14 people were detained Thursday, on the second night of protests - which were held despite a prohibition on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: Demonstrators block the street as they take part in pro-choice demonstration in the center of Warsaw on January 29

Women’s Strike said Friday that 14 people were detained Thursday, on the second night of protests – which were held despite a prohibition on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: Demonstrators block the street as they take part in pro-choice demonstration in the center of Warsaw on January 29

The court's judges argued that allowing abortion when there are congenital defects is unconstitutional because the Polish Constitution protects human life. Pictured: Demonstrators attend a protest against the verdict restricting abortion rights in Warsaw, January 29

The court’s judges argued that allowing abortion when there are congenital defects is unconstitutional because the Polish Constitution protects human life. Pictured: Demonstrators attend a protest against the verdict restricting abortion rights in Warsaw, January 29

Opponents call the law draconian, noting that it forces women to carry to term even fetuses with lethal defects or with disorders so considerable they could live their entire lives severely disabled or in a vegetative state

Opponents call the law draconian, noting that it forces women to carry to term even fetuses with lethal defects or with disorders so considerable they could live their entire lives severely disabled or in a vegetative state

Women’s Strike said Friday that 14 people were detained Thursday, on the second night of protests – which were held despite a prohibition on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Warsaw police said they had detained several people for entering the grounds of the Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw.

Among those held was Klementyna Suchanow, an author and activist who along with Lempart is one of the key leaders of Women’s Strike. She was released on Friday evening, according to Polish media reports.

Irene Donadio, a leading strategist with International Planned Parenthood Federation, an international group promoting reproductive health and choice, said her organisation is appalled that such a restrictive law could be imposed in a European Union member-state.

She called it a ‘tragedy’ not only for women but for rule of law more broadly, noting that the erosion of judicial independence had paved the way to the top court’s ruling and that the detention of activists was also unlawful.

She accused authorities of trying to ‘intimidate and terrify’ the protesters

This post was first published on DailyMail.

- Advertisement -

Latest news

- Advertisement -

Related news

- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here