By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Police in Warsaw confirmed Monday that they detained a prime minister’s nephew and three others at a protest against government policies that critics fear could cost Poland its European Union membership.
They were among about 100,000 people gathering in Warsaw, with many are chanting slogans such as “we are Europeans.” Besides the capital, there were protests in some 100 towns and cities where demonstrators claimed to defend Poland’s membership in the European Union.
Sunday’s protests were sparked by a top court’s ruling last week that the Polish Constitution overrides EU law when they clash.
That worries Donald Tusk, a former prime minister and former president of the EU’s European Council, who also attended the Warsaw rally.
Tusk leads the opposition party Civic Platform and urges citizens to “defend a European Poland.” “What happened that we all meet here today? A pseudo-Court of Justice, a group of masqueraders in judicial ropes, effectively decided to take Poland out of the EU by order of the ruling party’s leader. In violation of the constitution,” he told the crowd.
The legal challenge was brought by the Polish prime minister in March this year. It’s the first time in the history of the 27-strong EU bloc that a member state leader questioned fundamental EU treaties in a constitutional court.
Protestors say the decision can be seen as a rejection of EU values and may potentially lead to “Polexit” or the nation being forced out of the 27-member bloc. “This is a silent removal of Poland from the European Union, ” said protestor Robert Galemba.
“Seventeen years ago, we, as a society, said in a referendum that we are in favor of being in the EU. However, I am fed up with the trampling on our common values and what the current government is doing,” he added. “This is my symbol,” Galemba said, showing his EU flag.
Some fear the government will bring Poland back into neighboring Russia’s sphere of influence. “The political reality that interests me is the European reality. But I am afraid that we are going somewhere related to Moscow,” complained demonstrator Maciej Lewandowski. “This is not the place where I see myself or my friends, family, or children. No,” he stressed.
But Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has defended the court ruling and said his ruling party had no plans to follow Britain’s example by leaving the EU. Not everyone in his family agrees. Police said they had detained the prime minister’s nephew.
He alleged that a police officer kicked him in the head while he was on the ground being detained. Warsaw Police spokesman Sylwester Marczak confirmed the temporary detention of Franek Broda with the use of handcuffs but did not address allegations of police brutality. Broda, who is 18, is a government critic and an LGBT rights activist.
But Poland’s government received support from EU member Hungary where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán signed a resolution on the issue.
The resolution welcomes the Polish constitutional court as it challenges the primacy of European Union law and accuses EU institutions of overextending their powers.
Orbán said Hungary’s government calls on EU institutions to respect the sovereignty of all the bloc’s 27 member states.
The EU’s executive European Commission also views the pursued changes as an erosion of democratic checks and balances in Poland, which joined the European Union in 2004.
Poland’s government has been in conflict with Brussels for six years as it seeks control over the courts, judges, and media.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.