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

  • Republican health bill on the brink hours before showdown vote

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - The GOP's long-promised legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare" stood on the brink just hours before Republican leaders planned to put it on the House floor for a showdown vote. Short of support, GOP leaders looked to U.S. Source
  • It never seems a good time for a tax-the-rich budget: Don Pittis

    Canada News CBC News
    Maybe it's never a good time for greater equality. When Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his team of public servants began putting the final touches on his budget a few weeks ago, things could hardly have looked better for the economy. Source
  • 'She was my only girl': Nunavut teen's death sheds light on failures in fighting TB

    Canada News CBC News
    Matthew Kilabuk walks into the Inns North hotel in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, and begins blowing on his hands to warm them up. It is -30 C outside, without wind chill. Kilabuk, a well-known local artist who's trying to sell some of his drawings, is wearing mitts but the sheepskin is tattered and thin. Source
  • Access to tax deduction for fertility treatments expanded in budget

    Canada News CBC News
    Many Canadians who have turned to assisted reproductive technologies over the past 10 years are now eligible for a tax deduction as a result of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's new budget. Getting medical help to conceive a child can cost thousands of dollars, a cost that isn't covered by most provincial health plans. Source
  • Supreme Court of Canada to rule on Dennis Oland's bail appeal

    Canada News CBC News
    The country's highest court will rule today on whether the New Brunswick Court of Appeal made a mistake by denying Dennis Oland bail while he was waiting to appeal his second-degree murder conviction. The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to release its decision at 10:45 a.m. Source
  • After a nightmare attack, the resilience of Londoners resurfaces

    World News CBC News
    In stoic London, the sirens are just part of the big city soundtrack. But the gunshots were startling. In a country where 500 counterterrorism investigations are underway at any one time, the sight of masked men with guns was frightening — all the more so at the foot of Big Ben. Source
  • Ivanka Trump's White House role: Ethics concerns collide with hope for a 'moderating' voice

    World News CBC News
    Ivanka Trump has always had her father's ear. Soon, the eldest daughter of the U.S. president will also have access to state secrets and sensitive diplomatic cables, her own office in the West Wing and nobody official to answer to regarding her ethics. Source
  • Supreme Court to rule on Dennis Oland bail issue

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to rule today on whether New Brunswick's Court of Appeal was wrong in denying bail to Dennis Oland while he was awaiting an appeal of his second-degree murder conviction. Source
  • British police say attacker inspired by terrorism; 7 arrested in raids

    World News CBC News
    British police say they believe the attacker who killed three people including a police officer outside Parliament on Wednesday acted alone and was "inspired by international terrorism." Since the attack, police have raided six addresses since the attack, including in London and Birmingham, which have resulted in seven arrests in total. Source
  • Armed groups occupy schools in Central African Republic

    World News CTV News
    DAKAR, Senegal - The armed group took over the school little by little. One day when a fighter came to collect and burn the students' desks, teacher Thiernd Ouronfei decided he'd had enough. "I said he must put the kids' desks down. Source