Poles protest government, defend Walesa

WARSAW, Poland -- Thousands of Poles chanting "We will defend democracy!" and "Lech Walesa!" rallied Saturday in Warsaw to protest moves by Poland's three-month-old conservative government that they say undermine freedoms and the constitution.

See Full Article

The march was organized by the Committee for the Defence of Democracy, which was formed in November in reaction to moves by the ruling Law and Justice party that have essentially paralyzed the constitutional Tribunal, preventing it from acting as a check on new government legislation.

"We want a free and open Poland ... a Poland where there is room for everyone," said the head of committee, Mateusz Kijowski.

Thousands gathered in the cold, waving flags and banners and listening to speeches that condemned the government. Police estimated the crowd at 15,000, while Warsaw city hall said 80,000 people took part.

Many people held up images of Walesa, the former Solidarity leader and ex-president who has faced revived allegations that he was a communist-era secret police informer in the 1970s, before he founded Solidarity, the freedom movement which eventually helped to topple communism.

Walesa's supporters accuse the ruling party of trying to destroy his reputation for political gain. Walesa is a longtime foe of Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

"We came here to defend a symbol of Polish history against hate," Grzegorz Schetyna, the head of the opposition Civic Platform party, told the crowd. "We are defending Poland against Jaroslaw Kaczynski. We will not allow Poland to be taken over."

Kijowski read out a message from Walesa, who denied that he ever co-operated with the hate communist secret police. Walesa has insisted that the documents that have emerged recently implicating him as a collaborator were forged.

Despite the protest, many other Poles support the ruling party, which swept to power in November to capture the first parliamentary majority by a single party in Poland's 27 years of post-communist history. Many like Law and Justice's traditional Catholic values and measures aimed at helping disadvantaged Poles.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 2 Canadians among dead in Mexico nightclub shooting [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANCUN, Mexico — Two Canadians are among five people killed today in a shooting attack at an electronic music festival in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort of Playa del Carmen. And the Canadian government says at least two Canadians were among the injured in the same attack. Source
  • Unethical behaviour? Following Bahamas trip, Trudeau investigated over use of Aga Khan’s helicopter

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has launched an investigation into the circumstances of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s New Year’s holiday in the Bahamas, Postmedia Network has learned, the first time a sitting prime minister has come under scrutiny by the independent parliamentary watchdog. Source
  • 'I fought back': A mother's fight to clear her name in toddler death

    Canada News CTV News
    Two decades after her toddler Jenna was brutally murdered by a teenaged babysitter, Brenda Waudby is finally getting the opportunity to grieve. The single mother from Peterborough, Ont., has never had the opportunity to properly mourn the loss of her almost two-year-old daughter because she spent nine years trying to clear her name as a murder suspect in the case and another seven years refuting allegations of child abuse. Source
  • British pound drops to lowest since 1985 as Theresa May to outline Brexit plan

    World News CBC News
    The British pound fell to its lowest since 1985 on Monday after speculation ramped up that British Prime Minister Theresa May will lay out her plans for a so-called "hard Brexit" from the EU to European lawmakers tomorrow. Source
  • UN official: 10,000 civilians killed in Yemen conflict

    World News CTV News
    SANAA, Yemen -- The United Nations' humanitarian aid official in Yemen said Monday that the civilian death toll in the nearly two-year conflict has reached 10,000, with 40,000 others wounded. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Jamie McGoldrick told reporters the figure is based on lists of victims gathered by health facilities and the actual number might be higher. Source
  • Car vs. bike: Driver pushing cyclist, caught on video

    Canada News CTV News
    Ottawa police say they will not lay charges after a startling confrontation captured on video, in which a driver can be seen using his vehicle to push a cyclist at an intersection. The video shows a man on a bike and another man in a grey car arguing with each other at a busy intersection in Ottawa, where bike lanes run alongside vehicle lanes. Source
  • Kids born to opioid-addicted moms seem to fare poorly in school

    World News CBC News
    Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when addictive drugs such as opioids or sedatives pass through the placenta during pregnancy. (Torsten Mangner/Flickr) Children exposed to addictive drugs in the womb may be more likely to perform poorly in school, Australian researchers report. Source
  • Ethics watchdog investigates Trudeau's vacation in the Bahamas

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's ethics commissioner has launched an investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family vacation to the Aga Khan's private island home in the Bahamas. In a letter to Conservative ethics critic Blain Calkins that is stamped "Confidential" and was obtained by CBC News, Mary Dawson said she is "satisfied" the issues he has raised about Trudeau's travel meet the requirements for an investigation. Source
  • New Brunswick university establishes new cybersecurity institute

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- The University of New Brunswick opened a new cybersecurity institute Monday in hopes of establishing an educational hub for one of the most pressing issues in the information age. University officials, industry partners and members of the federal and provincial governments announced the launch of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity in Fredericton. Source
  • World’s 8 richest men own as much as 3.6 billion poorest

    World News Toronto Sun
    DAVOS, Switzerland — The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday. Source