Thousands of citizens marched through city streets across Poland on Saturday to protest the right-wing government’s encroaching authoritarianism, including a new plan to enact sweeping surveillance measures.
“Our privacy, intimacy is under threat, we can be followed, watched over both in our homes, and online,” Mateusz Kijowski, founder of the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) party and one of the protest organizers, told a large crowd in Warsaw as people held signs and stood in frigid temperatures to voice their opposition to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party that took control in November following parliamentary elections.
“We are not revolutionaries,” Kijowski said. “Revolutionaries are those who destroy order, who want to impose their own rule. We want to preserve our democracy and our freedom.”
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According to Reuters:
The news agency reports how dissent has been growing in the country since PiS gained power. A series of moves by the new government, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski and enabled by President Andrzej Duda, to seize “more control of the judiciary and the media have divided Poland and raised alarm bells in the Europe Union, which has started investigating charges that Warsaw is undermining democratic principles.”
In a national poll taken in December, more than half of Poland’s people (56%) said that Kaczynski and the PiS were a direct threat to the nation’s democracy. Remi Adekoya, a Phd student and Poland-based journalist, argued in a recent column that Kaczynski—like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and other far-right party leaders across Europe—”seems hungry for total control” of the state. Like Orbán in Hungary, the PiS has been perfecting an increasingly hostile position regarding the plight of refugees seeking asylum in Europe.
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