Opponents of tough Covid-19 restrictions and a near-total ban on abortion have rallied simultaneously in the Polish capital. Pro-choice activists promised a nationwide women’s strike next week.
Protesters in Warsaw demanded a “wise and responsible” approach to fighting the coronavirus, which would include the easing of quarantine restrictions and the voluntary self-isolation of vulnerable groups. They also asked the government to compensate businesses reeling from the outbreak. Officials introduced tougher measures against Covid-19 earlier this month, following a spike in cases.
The rally was met with a heavy police presence. Stun guns and tear gas were used to disperse the crowd. According to reports, at least one person was injured in the scuffles and an unspecified number of people were fined for violating public assembly laws. A spokesperson for Warsaw police told local media that the officers were only responding to aggression from the protesters.
Also on Saturday, the activists, many of whom were women, continued marching on the streets of Warsaw and other cities across the country against a recent court decision that severely limits access to abortion.