The prostests in Poland continue. From the small villages to big metropolies, angry people take to the streets. In Warsaw it is estimated that well over 100 000 people took to the streets. The scale of the protests can be seen at this drone video:
Read the previous part here
Learn what sparkled the prostests here
Groups of Kaczyński’s Titushki attacked the protesters in several places. The police was too stretched to respond, as they were tasked (along with the Military Police) with guarding churches, PiS offices and Kaczyński’s home, so very little of them were available to protect those citizens, who aren’t Jarosław Kaczyński. Luckily, the protesters realized that they are much stronger in numbers and chased the attackers away:
Police have detained 37 people, of which 35 were member of right wing groups of football hooligans who responded to Kaczyński’s call to arms. They were armed with tonfa batons, knives, pepper gas and pyrotechnical products such as flares or petards, which they were throwing at the participants of the marches.
There is a certain irony, that right wing thugs, who during anti-refugee hysteria were promising Polish women to “defend them from religious extremists” are now beating them on the street, while Muslim Council of Poland supports the strike. Funnily enough, the strike enjoys support from many other religions: from the members of Luteran church in Poland to the Global Order of Satan (so minister Czarnek was right after all, there are Satanists behind those protests!).
Of course, the government does everything to shift blame at the protesters. Pro-PiS media base their whole narration on one counterattacker who is seen at the footage carring something that looks like a hammer (but not using it). Other portals of radical right published a blurry footage of some brawl and claim it’s Antifa fighters attacking elderly man. This is obviously an official propaganda strategy, judging from behaviour of that “journalist” from (as we can easily guess from the context) PiS controlled TVP : despite the police spokesman constantly saying it’s right wing football hooligans who were arrested, she continues asking about Antifa in desperate attempt to make him mention that word, so it edited out and used for their propaganda):
Kaczyński’s thugs seemed to be genuinely surprised when they were arrested (one has been recorded screaming “gentelmen! I am with you! Who’s side you’re on!” at the riot police officers carrying him away). After Kaczyński’s speech they were obviously expected government’s protection. And they are getting it: a thug who attacked Gazeta Wyborcza’s reporter in Wrocław was found by the police and arrested. It turns out that he is a hardened criminal and member of the gang. He was found to be in possession of illegal drugs and, likely, a stolen car (the VIN number of his vehicle has been tampered with). Despite local prosecutor preparing a warrant for the arrest, after the intervention from Warsaw, he was released. It’s already a second case after prosecutor’s decission to charge man who drove his car into protesters earlier this week has been also overturned by the orders from the top. The fact that a known pro-PiS prosecutor has been filmed standing arm to arm with right wing militias is just a cherry of the top of that cake.
But of course there are those, who are facing the full power of the state. A group of members of a left wing trade union has been harassed by the police on their way from Poznań to Warsaw. First they have been stopped for very detailed roadside control a few times, and finally five police cars assisted by a helicopter (!) ambushed them and they were forcibly detained without a valid reason until crowds in Warsaw dispersed.
The government threatens organizers of the protests with up to 8, or even 12, years in prison. Still not as bad, as the tongue-in-cheek suggestion from TVP to bring back medieval methods of punishing women who engage in quarrels, I guess. After all, this is no joke. According to Antoni Macierewicz, the end game of the women’s strike is “to destroy our civilisation”, even though not all of the protesters realise that. But some don’t take it seriously: some citizens already self-reported themselves to the prosecution office.
But of course the government has many ways to make the life of the strikers difficult (and to destroy some state institutions as well). For example, the newly appointed Minister of Education threatened to withdraw research funds from the universities that gave their students a day off to take part in the strike. He also announced that he is going to discipline the teachers. A Polish Ambassador to Israel sacked two of his employees for participating in the protest. Another PiS MP tried to ridicule the leader of the women’s strike in Wieluń for being a cleaner.
And there are many ways to strike. Vandals who spraypaint trains covered the whole wall of a train car in black and painted a strike symbol on it:
— Róża Thun (@rozathun) October 29, 2020
Some hacked infamous “independence benches” (more on them here), so instead of playing patriotic songs and historical speakers, they play a snippet from a dance song popular during protests with the crowds singing “FUCK PIS” over it:
A old lady’s cameo in an interview with one of the PiS politicians became an instant internet hit: “Mr Wróblewski, that’s some mess you got yourselves into” she said while passing the TV crew interviewing him:
People are marching the streets of many towns and villages, across the country and abroad. This is a piquette in Maastricht:
Those are marchers in Kraków:
Streets of Bydgoszcz were also quite busy:
Also in Glasgow, despite stormy weather, a small crowd gathered at George Square. This time (as this was a second protest) ranks of Poles were supported by many of our Scottish friends:
Even in the smaller places there was no lack of loud events. In Końskie, where Andrzej Duda debated himself before second round of presidential electinons, people were shanting “Duda, you coward, come for a debate now!”. In Bogatynia, the crowd broke in and smashed PiS offices.
In Giżycko the crowd also approached party offices but in more peaceful way – they wanted to place candles outside. People inside switched the lights off and hid behind the furniture, but somebody was brave enough to print and display a sing saying that those candles are “for the murdered unborn children”.
The village of Czernikowo (approx. 3000 residents) had seen some eventful evening. In the first protest in village’s history about 250 people went to the street. The march was met by a parish priest who pointed a rifle at them and then threatened also the police officers. He finally was arrested and found to be in possession of the total of six guns. According to unconfirmed information circulating on Twitter he had already been released on the order that came from Warsaw… I would not be surprised if that proved true.
But Poles had also a chance to demonstrate their solidarity, after the prime minister decided, that the cemeteries will be closed over the weekend due to epidemic situation. The primate of Poland was very angry that the government has not consulted its decission with the church as it apparently became a standard by now, so was Warsaw’s mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, who pointed out that due to last minute decision, the capital city lost over 1 million zł that has been already spent on the traffic management and extra public transport – on 1st of November Poles traditionally visit graves of their loved ones, and this is one of the most universally celebrated holidays in our culture. Meanwhile, the government made that decision on Friday at 3pm, despite that just two days earlier they were ensuring everyone that the cemeteries are going to remain open. This is a true tragedy for the traders who sell candles, wraiths and flowers outside the cemeteries, as they have already stocked up in goods that they won’t be able to sell after All Saints, or that would simly perish – like cut flowers.
For many small entrepreneurs in that industry this might simply mean bankruptcy (listen to the voice of that lady), so no wonder that PiS just got himself yet another group of “fans”. But the anti-government movement called people to buy flowers and candles to help them, and so Poland suffers from oversupply of chrysanthemums and candles, which are being used in a creative ways like here, where candles have been arranged into red thunder – symbol of the women’s strike – and 8 stars – each for one letter of the slogan “JEBAĆ PIS” (fuck PiS) just outside the parliament building.
The prime minister promised that the government will buy plants and flowers from all that suffer from that decission: knowing the size of the market, that might cost the taxpayer more than those failed elections organized in summer by minister Sasin. It’s hard to say what they are going to do with all those flowers: perhaps they are going to decorate those 308 limousines that they just decided to buy, using EU funds for migrants and European integration? Because government so far has not even twice as much limos as there is ambulances in the country, in the times of COVID things cannot be left like that.
Meanwhile in Brussels Ordo Iuris, the ultra-Catholic legal organization that has enormous influence on PiS government, has just been kicked out from the office building they located their Belgian office. Rumour has it, that the Belgian government considers banning it in Belgium as a radical organization.
So the whole affairs goes international. Even Aleksandr Lukashenko reacted, suggesting that PiS is just getting what it deserves for rigging the elections (contrary to him, who did not rigged elections, but is attacked by foreign forces, of course). And all that while some lawyers claim that the ruling of Tribunal is invalid anyway, because Krystyna Pawłowicz, now Tribunal’s judge, was promoting the very similar legal bill in parliament when she was an MP, so she should be excluded because she is not impartial…
And what the doctors think of all of this? One doctor, who don’t want to be named, told me when asked about her thoughts on all of this in relation of COVID:
“Of course, it’s terrible” – she told me – “But I went to the protest myself. I know, it’s the worst time for it, which I don’t believe to be a coincidence. Still, I am furious, it’s not enough that doctors are treated like shit in this country, now also the women… And I am both a woman, and a doctor, so no wonder that I am in a rebellious mood. Write it down, let Europe know what is Poland about to become”.
So I am writing.
This piece was published by Britské Listy