Several hundreds of polish opposition supporters blocked at Saturday’s night (December 17th, 2006) each exit of the Sejm of The Republic of Poland while 200 politicians were inside. The head of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski was in the building at the very moment and could escape only thanks to help of the police who used violence in order to remove those who were blocking the exit from parliament.
Demonstrations of Polish citizens against new governmental restrictions
Polish minister of interior accused the opposition of an attempt to overtake the power through the protests on Friday. Jaroslaw Kaczynski claimed that the protest might have been described as pure vandalism and added “We will not let ourselves be terrorised”.
Thousands of persons gathered on Friday in front of Polish Parliament with the objective to express their dissatisfaction concerning a recent proposal to limit the access of journalists to the Sejm building. These Polish citizens alleged to “protect the democracy” by protesting against such limitations that Polish government tends to approve.
The protestors decided to block the exit from Parliament after the approval of the next year’s budget by Polish government. Key vote of the next year’s budget was moved outside of the main chamber of Parliament by Marek Kuchinski, who is the speaker of the Sejm. At the same time was blocked any attempt of medias to record the process of voting. The decision to move the voting was allegedly due to the fact that thirty political members of opposition were obstructing the main chamber. This was the first time from 1989 that such situation occurred, fact which indicates that last time was during the era of communism straight before the breakdown of the Soviet Union of which Poland was a member. Nonetheless nowadays Poland is a democratic country and a similar situation is not only unthinkable in a country that respects the principles of democracy, but also unacceptable.
“’The meeting”’ was illegal. Period. This is a constitutional crisis” expressed his opinion on a social site Grzegorz Schetyna, who is the president of the Civil Platform party. The leader of the opposition party Nowoczesna Ryszard Petru demands a new voting process by claiming that “There is no prove that a sufficient number of parliamentarians were present at the moment of voting”.
Among main slogans of protestors were phrases and words such as “Constitution”, “free medias” as well as “you will not get out until Christmas”. Several members of Civil Platform, which is an opposition party, joined the demonstrations against the violation of basic rules and principles of democracy which form its spine on which the whole political concept depends.
Kaczynski along with Szydlova, a Polish prime minister, managed to leave the building of Parliament while being accompanied by police who managed to create enough space to ensure an escape of the two above-named along with some other highly positioned politicians, mainly by using violence. However, not everybody had the chance to get away from the building. Some of the “imprisoned” ones tried to unsuccessfully leave the building, others spent the night inside without attempting to escape from the Sejm.
Only a few “blockers” stayed in front of the parliament in the morning. The rest of the blocked persons could therefore return home after such a roaring night.
The protests continued on Sunday not only in front of the Sejm but also close to the Constitutional Court. The representatives of the oppositions were still blocking the main parliamentary chamber which drew the attention of the president of the country Andrzej Duda who decided to meet the opposition.
Grzegor Schetyna claimed after the meeting with the president that his party requested a resignation of Kuchcinski as he is considered by the opposition as the main culprit of current political crisis which Poland is facing. The fellows of Schetyna allege to be going to block the main chamber until January, 11 or even longer if needed as a response to “illegal approval of next year’s budget”.
During the three days of protests, the members of the riot brought the flags of Poland and the European Union as well as homemade slogan banners displaying phrases such as “There are many of us and there will be more” or “delict and injustice?!”. Many publicly known persons and representatives of numerous organs participated in the demonstrations.
The president Duda wants to meet with both sides of the conflict in order to find an efficient solution. Several meetings have already taken place, however without any effect on the ongoing situation.
The situation not having been solved yet represents a serious issue to the democracy of Poland and the country itself. In the following days we might be witnesses of several other movements and protests concerning the new proposal of limitations of journalists in the Sejm and the budget vote, which could have been effectuated without the necessary number of lawmakers.
Is Poland embodying signs of communism? Does the ongoing situation represent any threats to democracy? Will this affect the political, social and economic situation of the country? Responses to these questions will be revealed in the upcoming days…