Standing up for democracy in Poland

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.

On 2 April, KOD UK activists picketed on Trafalgar Square to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the Polish Constitution. Colourfully dressed group, in party hats and with balloons, carried posters reminding the main constitutional rights and freedoms: “free media”, “human rights”, “women’s rights”. Activists had they lips sealed to protest against new government’s restrictions and return of censorship. “Polish Constitution, born 2 April 1997, don’t let it die young” one of the posters read.

Janusz Kaliszczak, KOD UK coordinator said: ” Today Poland celebrates the 19th anniversary of the adoption of the first constitution in free post-communist Poland. Sadly, the newly elected government endangers not only the constitutional order but also the functioning of the democratic system in Poland. We want to protect what is important to us and what Poland has achieved so far: free, democratic Poland.”

Poland has been seen as a model of democratic transition since the collapse of Communism and the Solidarity movement in late 80s. At the end of 2015 the conservative Law and Justice party won the election. The four-month-old government has focused its attention on dismantling the pillars of Poland’s democracy: taken direct control of state media, appointments of senior civil servants, and passed a law designed to paralyse the Constitutional Tribunal, which rules on the legality of government actions.

The European Commission has opened an unprecedented investigation into whether new Polish laws break EU democracy rules. EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has accused new Polish government of threatening “common European values”.

The Committee for the Defence of Democracy, known as KOD is a Polish civic mass opposition movement founded in November 2015 as a result of and triggered by the Polish constitutional crisis. KOD has been organising street demonstrations since November against controversial reforms. Tens of thousands of Poles have joined a series of large protest across Poland and abroad.

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

KOD UK w Leicester, fot. Justyna Iwaszkiewicz

KOD UK in Leicester, fot. Justyna Iwaszkiewicz

KOD UK, Tokyo, fot. Tyla Arabas

KOD UK, Tokyo, fot. Tyla Arabas

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fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

fot. Krzysztof Osiewalski

KOD UK w Leicester, fot. Justyna Iwaszkiewicz

KOD UK w Leicester, fot. Justyna Iwaszkiewicz

KOD UK w Leicester, fot. Justyna Iwaszkiewicz

KOD UK in Leicester, fot. Justyna Iwaszkiewicz

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

London, fot. Miłosz Muszyński

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