- Title: Protests against changes in Polandâ€™s judiciary continue
- Date: 21st July 2017
- Summary: WARSAW, POLAND (â€ªJULY 21, 2017) (REUTERS) TENT CAMP AT THE FRONT OF POLISH PARLIAMENT POLICE BARRIER AND POLICEMEN SURROUNDING PARLIAMENT CANDLES AND WREATH WITH SIGN, READING (Polish): "Free courts!" VARIOUS PEOPLE DEMONSTRATING NEXT TO UPPER HOUSE, SENATE SENATORS DEBATING SUPREME COURT BILL (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) OPPOSITION SENATOR, JAN RULEWSKI, SAYING: (DRESSED IN PRISON UNIFORM IN SIGN OF PROTEST) "Are you trying to keep dialogue with these organisations such as Committee for the Defence of the Democracy or the citizens? Or you are deploying police cordons and steel fences against them?" OPPOSITION SENATORS APPLAUDING BANNERS ON THE FENCE SURROUNDING THE PARLIAMENT, READING (Polish): "3 X VETO", "POLAND IS OURS" POSTER WITH IMAGE OF LAW AND JUSTICE LEADER JAROSLAW KACZYNSKI AND 2 SHADOWS BEHIND HIM SYMBOLISING TRINITY AND WORDS READING (Polish): "SEPARATION OF POWER. LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE AND JUDICIAL - ALL IN ONE HAND" VARIOUS PEOPLE SITTING IN TENT CAMP BALLOONS WITH EU STARS WARSAW DOWNTOWN (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PASSER-BY, EWA, SAYING: "Things are happening that I cannot grasp with my mind, I don't know why this is so and I am not a PiS (Law and Justice) supporter, I have always been afraid of them, but I thought this will be survivable." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PASSER-BY, KASIA, SAYING: "I am not a supporter of either side, but I don't like this situation. I think it will not lead to anything good and is aimed at dividing us (citizens) rather than leading to something reasonable." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PASSER-BY, KAMIL, SAYING: "It's not good, what's going on. There is some unneeded confusion. But well, the laws of democracy exist and until they work people can choose, they can see and hopefully they will choose wisely in the future." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PASSER-BY, AGNIESZKA, SAYING: "These young people should be sent to Moldova so they could see what it looked like here 30-40 years ago. And they would see what was achieved in those years and the youth should think about it. Because the youth did not go to vote in the elections." PEDESTRIANS
- Embargoed: 4th August 2017 13:39
- Keywords: Poland judiciary senate president Kaczynski
- Location: WARSAW, POLAND
- City: WARSAW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Reuters ID: LVA0016QNV5FR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Polish lawmakers were set to defy the European Union and massed opposition protesters on Friday (July 21) by backing a judicial overhaul denounced by critics as a move towards authoritarian rule.
Parliament's upper house was expected to vote through a bill forcing the removal of Supreme Court judges and giving parliament control over choosing replacements.
Tens of thousands of people gathered in cities across Poland into the early hours of Friday, some carrying Polish and EU flags and chanting, "Free Poland, European". Protesters said more rallies were planned in the evening.
Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said late on Thursday (July 20) she would not give into pressure at home or abroad, setting up a confrontation with the EU, which has threatened sanctions over the plans, calling them a challenge to the rule of law.
The zloty fell half a percent against the euro, underperforming the region's other currencies and ending a period of relative stability since the ruling party first submitted the bill on July 12.
Opposition groups and other critics say the legislation, which parliament's upper house started debating on Friday morning, is part of a power grab by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party that would undermine the EU's liberal principles.
The US Department of State said late on Thursday it was "concerned" about the situation in Poland.
The government of the EU's biggest eastern member state says the changes are needed to make courts more accountable and to ensure state institutions serve all Poles, not just the "elites" it says are the support base for the centrist opposition.
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