Join ARTICLE 19’s discussion on the right to protest in Poland as we launch a report examining protests against the near-total abortion ban and anti-discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community – emblematic examples of this most recent wave of mobilisation and recommendations to the authorities, the police and the judiciary on better securing people’s right to protest.
In 2015, people across Poland began to organise regular demonstrations to oppose the authorities’ growing practice of breaching the Constitution. Resistance among people intensified as the ruling political camp continued to tighten its grip on civil society and expand the crackdown on other fundamental rights. This increasingly prompted a violent response from law enforcement to quash it.
Since the Law and Justice party came to power in 2015, it has waged a multi-pronged campaign to restrict civic space in Poland: be it through exerting control over the judiciary turning state media into propaganda, targeting the LGBTQI+ community, banning abortion or imposing heavy restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly.
The process of dismantling democratic institutions and distilling constitutional safeguards for citizens has sparked a great resistance that has evolved into the biggest civil society awakening that Poland has seen since the ‘Solidarność’ movement.
The anti-government protests have mobilised around three main issues: the politicisation of the judiciary, reproductive rights, and discrimination against LGBTQI+ people. While people have started to engage more in affairs that affect their community, establish support networks, and learn how to conduct activist campaigns, the state has begun to use force more frequently to disperse demonstrations. There have been reports of people being pushed to the ground, unlawfully apprehended and taken into custody.
Join our discussion on how people in Poland increasingly exercise their right to protest and to assembly to fight for their fundamental rights, and looking at the state’s role in improving protection for protesters.
Thursday, 13 July at 16:00 CEST online
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Anna Wójcik, expert on the rule of law
Karolina Gierdal, human rights lawyer
Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar, human rights activist
Quinn McKew, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19
Moderator: Joanna Szymańska, Senior Program Officer, ARTICLE 19 Europe and Central Asia