- Title: "Judges today, you tomorrow": thousands of Poles protest judicial reforms
- Date: 18th December 2019
- Summary: PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNER READING (Polish): "EUROPE, SAVE US!" ONE OF THE MOST OUTSPOKEN CRITICS OF JUDICIARY REFORM, JUDGE IGOR TULEYA SPEAKING FROM STAGE SAYING (Polish): "THEY ARE TRYING TO PUT US IN JAIL AND IF THIS LAW ENTERS INTO FORCE, THEY WILL SUCCEED" PROTESTER HOLDING EUROPEAN UNION FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) ONE OF THE MOST OUTSPOKEN CRITICS OF JUDICIARY REFORM, JUDGE IGOR TULEYA, SAYING: "These changes (ed's note: judiciary reform) are the next step for the current government to deform the judiciary system cut Poland off from Europe." PROTESTERS HOLDING BIG EU FLAG PROTEST IN PROGRESS VARIOUS OF PROTESTER WEARING PIN WITH SIGN READING (Polish): "JUDGES TODAY, YOU TOMORROW" (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) ONE OF THE MOST OUTSPOKEN CRITICS OF JUDICIARY REFORM, JUDGE IGOR TULEYA, SAYING: "This law is known not only as the "gagging law" and "muzzling law", but also as "Polexit law". If the executive power does not respect the rule of law, the EU law is also a Polish law, then it questions the wish for Poland to be part of a real, civilized Europe." PROTESTERS HOLDING POLISH AND EUROPEAN FLAGS CHANTING (Polish): "JAROSLAW K." (ed's note: referring to the leader of Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynski) PLACARD WITH POEM BY POLISH POET JULIAN TUWIM READING (Polish): "LET THE LAW ALWAYS MEAN THE LAW AND JUSTICE MEANS JUSTICE" (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 68-YEAR-OLD WARSAW RESIDENT, HELENA DASZKOWSKA, SAYING: "This system already resembles the communist system. This is how it used to be in the past and the further we go now, it's getting worse. It is a classic dictatorship." VARIOUS OF PROTESTER HOLDING PLACARD READING (Polish): "1956-END OF STALINISM IN POLAND; 1989 - END OF COMMUNISM IN POLAND; 2019 - WHY DO YOU WANT TO BRING IT BACK?" (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 48-YEAR-OLD JOURNALIST, LUKASZ BELDA, SAYING: "Politicians cannot interfere with the independence of the courts. When I stand in front of the court, I want to at least be sure that the judge is independent of politicians and that's enough for me." PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNER READING (Polish): "FREE COURTS!!!" PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNER WITH LIST OF DEMANDS EUROPEAN FLAG WAVING VARIOUS OF MAN HOLDING CHILD ON HIS ARMS WITH POLISH FLAG WAVING POLICE STANDING GUARD OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT POLISH FLAG WAVING ON TOP OF PARLIAMENT BUILDING
- Embargoed: 1st January 2020 20:31
- Keywords: Law and Justice Polish judges judiciary reform protest in Poland
- Location: WARSAW, POLAND
- City: WARSAW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003BAI5S8P
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Several thousand people gathered in front of Poland's parliament in Warsaw on Wednesday (December 18) to protest against a proposal by the ruling nationalists that would allow for judges to be fired if they question the legitimacy of the government's judicial reforms.
Protesters carried placards with anti-governmental slogans and waved Polish and EU flags, with some wearing tape over their mouths that said: "Judges today, you tomorrow".
One of the most outspoken critics of judiciary reform, judge Igor Tuleya said the latest reforms were already known as the "gagging law" and "muzzling law" and were the next step for the current government to deform the judiciary system and cut Poland off from Europe.
Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has vowed to keep reforming its justice system after winning an election in October, putting it on a collision course with the European Union which has repeatedly argued the reforms are in breach of EU law and Poland's constitution.
Under draft legislation expected to be discussed in parliament on Thursday, PiS aims to prevent judges from ruling that peers, nominated by a panel appointed by the PiS-dominated parliament, are not independent.
The EU had said on Monday (December 16) it would investigate whether the draft law undermines judicial independence.
(Production: Jaroslaw Gawlowski, Malgorzata Wojtunik)
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