Poles take to streets over law

Protesters in the city of Poznan rally against the new bill changing the judiciary system in Poland.
Protesters in the city of Poznan rally against the new bill changing the judiciary system in Poland. Jan Skowroski

POLAND has had its eighth straight night of mass protests after parliament passed a law giving the ruling party more control over the judiciary.

It was passed in defiance of allies including the US and the European Union,

Tens of thousands of protesters marched peacefully in cities across the country on Sunday, holding flags and copies of the Constitution or posters with the word "constitution”.

President Andrzej Duda has 21 days to sign or veto the law the protesters say is a threat to democracy.

Former president Lech Walesa, who led protests that brought the fall of communism nearly 30 years ago, voiced his opposition to it.

Many consider the law the biggest challenge since communism fell in 1989.

The law was "one step back for democracy,” US Senator John McCain tweeted.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, of the Law & Justice Party, said he would not back down. His party controls parliament.

Law & Justice says it's "giving the courts back to the people” but has rushed through the change, which forces all Supreme Court judges into immediate retirement, with little debate and without consulting the judiciary.

A top EU official has threatened the sanctions and possible suspension of Poland's EU voting rights.

Topics:  constitution poland

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