"We the People"Image: Getty Images/AFP/J. Skarzynski
Thousands protest Polish government
February 28, 2016
The latest in a series of anti-government protests in Poland has brought thousands of people into the streets. But this time they also came out to defend the man who led the pro-democracy movement that toppled communism.
The demonstration was the latest organized by the Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD), which was formed in November shortly after the PiS was elected.
The "We the People” slogan takes its inspiration from the preamble of the US Constitution.
At least 15,000 gathered, according to police, on a cold, sunny, winter day; city hall, which is aligned with the opposition, put the figure at 80,000.
Protesters chanted "We will defend democracy” and "Lech Walesa" - the former Solidarity leader and ex-president - and waved flags and banners and listened to speeches.
"We want a free and open Poland ... a Poland where there is room for everyone," said, Mateusz Kijowski, head of the KOD. "We've come to make it clear that freedom and democracy are the most important values guarded by the constitution," he added.
Back to a police state
Jan Rogalski, a 48-year-old resident of Warsaw, said the new government wants to roll back the clock.
"The PiS wants to control everything, the state, the economy and the people," he said. "We can't let them take us back to communist times."
"We came here to defend a symbol of Polish history against hate," Grzegorz Schetyna, the head of the opposition Civic Platform party, told the crowd. "We are defending Poland against Jaroslaw Kaczynski. We will not allow Poland to be taken over."