NB: This Wednesday, Jan. 27, marks the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Poland: Massive Marches against Growing Authoritarian Threat from Far-Right
Against Growing Authoritarian Threat of Far-Right, Massive Marches in Poland
“We want to preserve our democracy and our freedom,” said one demonstration organizer.
by Jon Queally
Thousands of citizens marched through city streets across Poland on Saturday to protest the right-wing government’s encroaching authoritarianism, including a new plan to enact sweeping surveillance measures.
“Our privacy, intimacy is under threat, we can be followed, watched over both in our homes, and online,” Mateusz Kijowski, founder of the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) party and one of the protest organizers, told a large crowd in Warsaw as people held signs and stood in frigid temperatures to voice their opposition to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party that took control in November following parliamentary elections.
“We are not revolutionaries,” Kijowski said. “Revolutionaries are those who destroy order, who want to impose their own rule. We want to preserve our democracy and our freedom.”
According to Reuters:
Waving Polish and European Union flags, the protesters demanded that the Law and Justice party withdraw its planned changes to the surveillance law.
“You’re supposed to listen, not listen in,” read one of the banners. The proposed changes would expand the government’s access to digital data and loosen the legal framework of using surveillance in law enforcement.
The news agency reports how dissent has been growing in the country since PiS gained power. A series of moves by the new government, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski and enabled by President Andrzej Duda, to seize “more control of the judiciary and the media have divided Poland and raised alarm bells in the Europe Union, which has started investigating charges that Warsaw is undermining democratic principles.”