Half a million protesters took to the streets of central Warsaw on Sunday in what Polish opposition organizers have called one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in 30 years since the fall of communism.
Former President of Poland, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and anti-communist leader Lech Walęsa participated in the march together with opposition representatives. Parliamentary elections will take place in Poland in the autumn.
People came from across the country after former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, leader of the centrist opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, called for protests against ‘the high cost of living, fraud and lies , for democracy, free elections and the EU”.
The leaders of most of the opposition parties called on their supporters to join the march against the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
“According to the calculations of the city administration, at the moment [protestuotojų skaičius] reached 500,000,” organizers’ representative Jan Grabiec told AFP news agency.
Dressed in red and white, the protesters carried signs that read “There are limits to everything”, “No to authoritarian Poland” and blamed the ruling PiS party for the exorbitant prices.
Donald Tusk, the former president of the European Council, addressed the crowd, saying the role of the opposition was “of similar importance” to that of the 1980s in the fight against communism.
L. Walęsa, who led the trade union “Solidarity”, which successfully fought against communism, has not been in politics for a long time. He told marchers he was “patiently” waiting for the day the Nationalist Party and Mr Kaczynski would be expelled.
“Mr. Kaczynski, we came to pick you up. This day has finally dawned,” said L. Walęsa.
June 4 the day of the protest march marks the 34th anniversary of the first semi-free elections in Poland, after which communism was defeated in Europe.
In 1990, L. Walęsa became the country’s first democratically elected president.
Source: The Delfi