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situation report

Dec 17, 2016 | 17:58 GMT

1 min read

Poland: Opposition Protests Break Out In Warsaw, Other Cities

Several thousand people demonstrated in front of the parliament building in Warsaw on Dec. 17, blocking exits before police removed them by force, Reuters reported. Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo left shortly after. Demonstrators accuse the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party of violating the constitution. Tensions were sparked Dec. 16 when the government curtailed media access to parliament during a budget vote, which was completed in a separate chamber without journalists present for the first time since 1989. The opposition called the vote illegal because it was not possible to confirm whether it involved the mandated number of lawmakers. Two dozen members of the opposition Civic Platform have been staging a sit-in in the parliament building and plan to remain for several days. Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak called this blockade an unlawful bid to seize power. The opposition has called for early elections, but is unlikely to win any vote of no-confidence because of the Law and Justice majority in parliament. Since taking over the Polish government in 2015, the Law and Justice party has based its domestic governing strategy on introducing measures that extend the party's political control of the country.


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