Black protest: Black protest aftermath: tensions grow, first clashes with police (video)

14:37 Oct. 4, 2016

Black protest aftermath: tensions grow, first clashes with police (video)

Warsaw protest against anti-abortion bill (Thomas A. Lukaszuk / Twitter)

European Parliament is due to debate the situation of women rights in Poland

World and local press reveal the details of the yesterday's Black protest in Poland, also known by the name 'Black Monday'.

"Tensions were running high on Tuesday between Poland's right-wing government and opponents who waged large protests across the nation a day earlier against a legislative proposal for a total ban on abortion. Many thousands of women donned black and attended protest rallies, joined by many men. Some also boycotted work and classes. The largest street rally was in downtown Warsaw, where, according to city hall, 30,000 turned out, and according to police, 17,000," Daily Mail reports.

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, from the ruling Law and Justice party, on Tuesday called the protests "marginal" and denounced them as "a mockery of important issues." In turn, Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz, of the opposition party Modern, said Waszczykowski showed "huge contempt" for women.
On Wednesday the European Union's Parliament is due to debate the situation of women in Poland given the proposal to restrict abortion rights. 

Black protest shook the whole of Poland, Newsweek Polska reports. "Streets were filled with thousands of women opposed to a total ban on abortion. But also no shortage of men in the ranks of the protesters," media notes.

The biggest crowd was noted in Warsaw. "The exact calculation of the protesters number is very difficult – the rotation of the protesters was too large. All this, despite the unpleasant aura – the capital faced heavy rain falling in the afternoon," report states.

Numerous demonstrations were also held in other towns. In Wroclaw approx. 20 thousand gathered, several dozen thousands rallied in Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Szczecin and Gdansk. Protests were also in smaller cities – several thousand gathered in Olsztyn and hundreds in small town of Minsk Mazowiecki. Support also came from abroad – solidarity demonstrations took place even in Berlin, Brussels and Kyiv.


Black protest in Kyiv, Ukraine. October 3, 2016 (UNIAN)


Black protest in Kyiv, Ukraine. October 3, 2016 (UNIAN)

Read also: Proposed abortion ban splits opinion in Poland

Participants of the protest brought banners and chanted slogans: "Beata (Szydlo, Polish Premier – UT) Unfortunately, your government overthrow women", "Save the women from the choice of whether to go to heaven or to jail," "We want to love, not to die," "I am, I feel, I decide," "Free choice," "Women's rights – an important thing," "My body, my brooch," "Solidarity is a woman."


Black protest was accompanied by a counter-rallies of ‘Pro-life' organizations. In Warsaw a few people with banners and photographs of aborted fetuses gathered. They were separated from the main demonstration by the police cordon. A similar counter-rally took place also in Katowice. In some churches, including in cathedrals in Lodz and Warsaw's Praga, special Masses were celebrated, intended to be a response to the protest of women.

In Poznan it came to clashes between some protesters and the police. At the end of the rally some of the protesters went to the square around the office of the ruling PiS party. According to police, a group of people "being unprovoked" attacked police officers standing on the sidewalk and in the gate with stones, flares and firecrackers. Five officers were injured.

During clashes at least 10 participants of the march were detained, three of them – a woman and two men – spent the night in jail.

During the demonstration in Warsaw police security forces also detained four men, TVN24 report. Police spokesman Mariusz Mrozek said that they threw something in the direction of police officers staying between the main manifestations and a group of abortion opponents who gathered under the column of Zygmunt.

Read also: Battle over abortion law continues in Poland

Abortion in Poland is now banned except for cases where the woman's life is in danger, the fetus is irreparably damaged or the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

The new proposal, now being examined by a parliamentary commission, would make all abortions illegal, even in cases of rape or when the woman's life is at risk, with prison terms of up to five years for women seeking abortions and doctors who perform them.

The proposal 'for' came from an anti-abortion citizens' initiative that gathered 450,000 signatures in the nation of 38 million, and is supported by the church. Law and Justice, which has a majority in parliament, includes supporters of the proposal but it's not clear if there are enough to push it through.

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