- Title: Thousands attend candlelit rally in Warsaw to protest against judicial reforms
- Date: 16th July 2017
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) HEAD OF POLAND'S SUPREME COURT, MALGORZATA GERSDOF, SAYING: "The draft bill guarantees that the justice minister has a huge influence on who works for the courts, on firing judges, on disciplinary procedure. This draft bill that refers to the Supreme Court is unconstitutional." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE HOLDING CANDLES (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PROTESTER, WIKTOR, SAYING: "Our government is trying to take over the highest court and judiciary in Poland. In fact it already has. We are protesting against gathering the whole of state power in the hands of one dictator who is the head of the ruling party (Kaczynski)." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PROTESTER, ZBIGNIEW, SAYING: "One group of people is imposing their will on others. They want to give themselves power to have influence on everything." VARIOUS OF CROWD WITH CANDLES PEOPLE PLACING CANDLES ON GROUND CROWD WITH CANDLES
- Embargoed: 30th July 2017 22:14
- Keywords: Poland government Law and Justice party (Pis) judiciary justice minister; candlelit protest
- Location: WARSAW, POLAND
- City: WARSAW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036PYV8SN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Several thousand people gathered in central Warsaw on Sunday evening (July 16) in protest against the ruling party's judicial reforms, which the opposition says would kill judges' independence and undermine democracy.
Late on Friday (July 14) the country's parliament, where the Law and Justice (PiS) party has a majority, passed a bill giving parliament a greater say in appointing judges, which critics say violates the constitutional separation of powers.
After a demonstration in front of parliament earlier on Sunday, protesters gathered in front of the Supreme Court building next to Warsaw's historic centre, holding candles in a peaceful protest "in defence of courts and democracy".
PiS says the party has a democratic mandate to make the judiciary more efficient and accountable to the public. Since winning the 2015 election the party has overhauled the constitutional court and given the Justice Ministry control over the prosecutor general's office.
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