Conflicts & War

Protest: the engine of social change in Poland

By Pablo González

Warsaw, Dec 3 (efe-epa).- “Satan, get out of here!” shout nationalists at the door of the Church of the Holy Cross in the centre of Warsaw.

“Mary would be with us,” the demonstrators reply.

Interactions such as these have set the scene outside churches in Warsaw as tensions worsen surrounding new prohibitory laws on abortion in Poland.

Groups of ultra-right-wingers pray and shout, separated by a police cordon from a crowd demonstrating with pro-choice banners and rainbow flags.

It is an example of the social division in Poland, and yet it is also a case for the new sense of unity that has been established among some demonstrators, with feminist groups marching alongside LGBTQ groups.

The initiative to restrict abortion by the ultra-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) has led to a revolt in the streets, uniting the people against the government.

Poland is witnessing its largest protests in 30 years. The previous ones in 1989 led to the fall of the communist regime and the arrival of democracy.

The Polish are once again taking to the streets of the country’s major cities, where more than half a million people have protested in the last month and a half.

Abortion is permitted in Poland in the event of three cases: rape, danger to the life of the mother or birth defects.

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