Citizens’ Strike at Sejm

Citizens’ Strike – united coalition of the largest democratic opposition movements showed today even more clearly that we are ready at a moment’s notice to defend the citizens’ rights of Poles and constitutional lawfulness in Poland in large numbers.

Only just last week on the 35 anniversary of imposing of the martial law on 13 December hugely successful national protests were held against damaging rule of the government by the party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski and its threat to democracy. Today again we took to the streets of Poland. Large protest marches against the damaging changes to the state of lawfulness, national defence, economy and education on the scale we have not witnessed since the days of communism took weeks to prepare.

Continuous Citizens’ Strike lives goes on and grows thanks to the impressive efforts of fantastic, committed and hard-working people who care about the fate of Poles and Poland. We have proven that together we can show the ruling government that the real power is in the hands of the people.

Today once again tens of thousands people with their banners, with Polish and EU flags stood across the streets and town squares. This was an unplanned protest. But we weren’t taken by surprise. It only took us a few hours from the moment we received the news from the parliament to the moment thousands of us gathered united in our protest. We are ready! We are strong! We are united and we are the democratic majority. We have the power and the voice. Citizens’ Strike is watching over the state of law and democracy. We are not putting our umbrellas down (reference to the symbol of the Black Protest and the strike). We are marching and we will march until the cloud of totalitarianism does not leave Poland.

When we were marching on the 13 December, we were wondering how much longer the current government is going to take advantage of our thinning patience. What limits are going to be reached by the audacity and impudence of Jarosław Kaczyński’s dogsbodies. When we see the nepotism and lawlessness, hear the lies and insults, we feel that the Poland we know and love is falling a victim to the lowest instincts: lust for power and lust for vengeance.

Our children are going to fall victims to the changes in the education system, our parents are going to feel the economical consequences as pensioners. We are going to pay ourselves as Poland, amongst the pro-government tv propaganda, is moving further and further away from democratic standards of the Western world which until recently were our peaceful everyday reality.

Black Friday, 16 December, the anniversary of the assassination of president Gabriel Narutowicz by nationalists in 1922, yet again goes down in Polish history as a dark day for democracy.

Today politicians whom the nation entrusted with its safety and prosperity, have broken the rules of the contract they entered into with the citizens and stroke at the very heart of the Polish democracy: the Polish parliament.

Everything began with the opposition MPs’ protest, who, just like common people on the streets, stood united to defend the freedom of the press. PiS (Law and Justice Party), by removing journalists’ access to Sejm, took away the basic right of democratic control over power holders from all citizens.

Transparency of national institutions is the basis of a healthy democracy, where the citizen, not a party leader, has a priority. What is Kaczynski planning if he demands removing public scrutiny over parliamentary proceedings?

In response to a rightful process of united opposition, PiS politicians arranged a shameful show of group assault on Polish democracy. The most important piece of legislation, the annual budget of a 38-million country, the sixth largest economy in the EU, was approved in a side room, with the opposition and journalists locked out by the PiS-following parliamentary Guards.

PiS enacted a grotesque and shameful parody of parliamentary proceedings, known to the nation from the last years of the Polish kingdom. A horror show of buying votes amid total chaos. It’s hard to find a parliamentary rule which the PiS didn’t break tonight.

Probably the vote took place without the required minimum present. The opposition have pointed it out and attendance lists seem to confirm it. If that proves true, the unlawfulness of the situation reaches new highs.

Today those in power took of their last mask, covering their authoritarian face. Parliament doesn’t work. The Constitutional Tribunal doesn’t work. We are witnesses to the biggest constitutional crisis in 25 years. Kaczynski and his people demonstrated today that they will dare to do anything.

We mustn’t be fooled. Today the unimaginable happened. Let’s get ready for tomorrow. They know very well that they’re due a process in the state tribunal. This is why they won’t give up on power without a fight. Piotrowicz, a communist prosecutor who avoided punishment thanks to a historical agreement of thick stroke in 1989, knows there will be no third chances.

There will be the Citizens’ Strike, there will be us, organised and united as we stand outside the Parliament, ready to fight for freedom, democracy, and human rights for all Poles.

 

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