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Anti-gov't activists smuggled into parliament amid protests against court reforms

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 19.07.2018 08:30
An opposition MP smuggled two anti-government activists onto the grounds of Polish parliament in the boot of her car on Wednesday as a crowd protested against controversial court reforms.
A protester shows a police officer a sign which reads: "The parliament is ours". Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell.A protester shows a police officer a sign which reads: "The parliament is ours". Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell.

After activists Paweł Kasprzak and Wojciech Kinasiewicz were turned away by guards at the gates of the Polish parliament, Joanna Schmidt smuggled them through so they could attend a press conference alongside opposition politicians, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, people gathered outside parliament to protest against the government's judicial reforms and to demand that changes requested by the European Commission be introduced.

Protesters gathered outside Polish parliament. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Two protesters were detained after vandalising a parliamentary building wall with graffiti.

Since coming to power in late 2015, the ruling conservative Law and Justice party has introduced sweeping changes to the judiciary, saying it was necessary to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past, and accusing judges of being an elite, self-serving clique often out of touch with the problems of ordinary citizens.

But the opposition said the changes were an attack on democracy and accused the government of trying to stack the courts with its own candidates.

The European Commission claims there is a threat to the rule of law and has urged for quick changes to reinstate the independence of the judiciary.

The commission, the European Union's executive arm, earlier this month launched a case against Warsaw over its controversial reform of the Supreme Court.

Last December it took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, possibly paving the way for sanctions.


tags: rule of law
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