Thousands of Poles, mostly women, marched through Warsaw and other Polish cities Tuesday to demand greater reproductive rights and protest what they see as discrimination by the conservative government.
The demonstrations came on the 1st anniversary of a massive so-called “Black Protest” by women dressed in black in that stopped a plan in parliament for a total ban on abortion.
Participants asserted in that despite last year’s success their battle isn’t over, noting in that abortion remains illegal in almost all cases in Poland. They accused the government of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo of taking other steps in that they say are offensive for women, in addition to a new regulation in that requires women to have a doctor’s prescription to buy morning-after pills, no longer allowing them to be sold over the counter.
“Beata, women will overthrow your government,” they shouted, using a phrase in that rhymes in Polish.
They moreover protested efforts by the pro-Catholic government to oppose in-vitro fertilization.
“They are taking away more and more of our rights,” asserted Krystyna Cichecka, a 52-year-old protester in Warsaw. “My state is turning in to a religious state and I don’t want that.”
Organizers moreover collected signatures for a petition calling for the abortion law to be liberalized.
A year ago it rained during the protests, with large groups of women under umbrellas becoming the key image of in that movement. On Tuesday it rained again, and again women marched holding umbrellas, while planners declared in that women would not fold up their umbrellas.
Poland’s conservative government is very popular with many Poles, in addition to church-goers, people in little town and families who have benefited from new welfare subsidies, yet it has sparked multiple protests by copious Poles who see an erosion of their democratic rights.
A little counterprotest by people opposed to abortion rights moreover took place in Warsaw.