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Protests against new abortion law continue across Poland

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Protests against new abortion law continue across Poland
Copyright  Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Protesters took the streets of cities across Poland on Friday for the third consecutive night of rallies against the introduction of strict abortion laws.

The legislation that came into force on Wednesday makes it almost impossible to terminate a pregnancy legally except in cases of incest, rape, or when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.

Protesters defied coronavirus restrictions, marching through the capital Warsaw calling for "freedom, equality, and abortion on demand."

While largely peaceful, there were some small scuffles with police, who used tear gas on protesters and detained a number of people.

There were similar protests in other Polish cities such as Lodz, Gdansk, and Szczecin.

Many people in Poland are outraged at the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party's rules on abortion.

The government came under pressure from an ultra-conservative group to further tighten what had already been some of the European Union's most restrictive abortion laws.

Mass nationwide demonstrations have taken place repeatedly since then, growing into the largest protest movement in post-communist Poland.

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.