Protests against abortion ban in Poland
Poland already has some of the most drastic abortion laws in Europe. On Thursday (22/10/2020), the country highest court ruled that abortions due to fetal defects are unconstitutional! That decision trigger revolt around Polish citizens.
The move to further restrict abortion had been pursued by Poland's populist government for months and has raised the alarm among women's and human rights campaigners. On Thursday night, the first demonstration started, and police used pepper spray against protesters.
Some protests have resulted in violence and/or looting. Even protests which are intended to be peaceful can become violent. If you are part of demonstrations, follow our safety advisory. Otherwise, if you are close to riots, please avoid the area where demonstrations are taking place.
UPDATE 28/10/2020 at 14:26 GMT+2
- Employees across Poland took part in a nationwide strike on Wednesday. Local media reported on female and male employees of public institutions, universities and private firms, taking a day off work to show solidarity with the protesters! Mayors of several cities are also supporting the call for workers to stay off their jobs. On Sunday protesters entered in churches to disrupt masses. Nearly after that, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaczynski accused protesters of seeking “to destroy Poland”! Kaczynski called on supporters to defend churches “at any cost”.
See our Safety Advisory for more information about how to stay safe during the protest!
- Employees across Poland took part in a nationwide strike on Wednesday. Local media reported on female and male employees of public institutions, universities and private firms, taking a day off work to show solidarity with the protesters! Mayors of several cities are also supporting the call for workers to stay off their jobs. Protesters entered in churches on Sunday to disrupt masses. Interior Minister Mariusz Kaczynski accused protesters of seeking “to destroy Poland”! Kaczynski called on supporters to defend churches “at any cost”.
- People on the streets for the fifth day in a row! Thousand of polish citizens blocked streets to protest against new abortion law. After the law goes into effect, abortion will be banned in the case of fetal abnormalities. It will be legal only in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the woman's health.
- Thousands of people marched in multiple cities across Poland
- The biggest protests took place on the street of Warsaw, Łódź and Gdańsk
If you are in the area of the incident, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.
Some protests have resulted in violence and/or looting. Even protests which are intended to be peaceful can become violent.
What can go wrong
- Noise can make communication difficult
- Communication can fail
- Group of people can be there because of the wrong reasons
- Police can use force
- Police can you the pepper spray
- Group of people who do not think the same as you and other protesters can attack you
How to stay safe
- If you hear that a demonstration is taking place, avoid the area or stay in your accommodation until you are sure that it is safe to go out
- Establish where the demonstration has taken place, and if possible avoid the area
- If you come across a demonstration, don't become inquisitive, just leave the area and find another route to your intended destination
- Do not run
- Be calm and focused: when things get most intense, react to danger or warning signs
- Know your rights
- Avoid direct police contact
Interacting with the police
- If you are stopped by police, be calm and cooperate. They are not enemies
- In case you are arrested, do not argue with the police. Know your right, and ask for a lawyer immediately
- If your friend or family members is in the clash with police do not confront them. Try to be calm, and ask them to move back from the police. Be the voice of reason
- If you need emergency assistance, calmly approach to police and ask them for help
- If you are attending to protest write down emergency numbers.
- Always inform your friends or family members that you are going to protest
- If protest escalates, immediately find safe space.
- Remember, it's not about you. Maybe you are angry, but the act of violence is not an answer
- For your safety, always be accompanied by minimum one person
- Be aware that undercover police may be in the crowd
- Do not put yourself in danger. Your words need to be heard, but your safety is priority
- Protect your mobile phone privacy
Crime and law
- Crime remains relatively low in Poland. Pickpocketing can be a problem in public areas and on public transport, especially in crowded situations.
- Under Polish law, if asked by the Polish police, you must verify your identity by presenting photographic identification. As well as your passport
- It is against the law to consume alcohol in public places in Poland and fines may be imposed.
- Victims of any crime should first contact the local police. Report crimes to the local police by calling 112 (multilingual emergency dispatch centre).
Public transportation in Poland is generally efficient, inexpensive, and safe. A ticket is usually required when boarding a bus or tram. Tickets can be purchased at ticket machines located at main bus and tram stops or at most kiosks and newspaper stands. Tickets must be validated at the start of a journey in the small yellow machine on the bus or tram. If the ticket is not validated upon entry, you may be fined.
Taxis are available at major hotels, designated taxi stands, and can be ordered in advance by phone. Polish Taxi apps: https://pl.mytaxi.com/index.html , http://neptuntaxi.pl/pl/ , http://www.dajan-taxi.pl/aplikacja, https://www.ecocar.pl/