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Poles Protest in 100 Cities

Poles Protest in 100 CitiesPoles Protest in 100 Cities

Thousands of protesters are expected to rally in the Polish capital of Warsaw on Sunday evening after parliament passed a law putting the Supreme Court under government control.

Critics have slammed the bill’s passage as a blatant power grab by President Andrzej Duda and his right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), but the party insists it is simply carrying out needed judicial reform, CNN reported.

Key to the legislation is that current Supreme Court judges would be forced into early retirement and new judges would be appointed by the justice ministry.

Parliament’s upper house approved the bill just before 2 a.m. on Saturday after 16 hours of debate, sparking mass protests in more than 100 cities across the country and a wave of condemnation from abroad.

The move to control one of the last remaining independent government institutions has prompted concern in Washington and triggered warnings from the European Union that it is putting judicial independence at risk.

The bill’s passage could mark a turning point for the Eastern European country —one of the first former communist nations to join the European Union.

A poll conducted by CNN affiliate TVN found that 55% of Poles said Duda should veto the court laws; 29% said he should not.

The president has 21 days to sign or veto the legislation. He is widely expected to approve it, but protestors are calling on him to reject it.

Adam Bodnar, Poland’s human rights ombudsman, described the law as the most important decision of Duda’s term.

He and other critics of the bill admit the judiciary needs reform but disagree about the way in which the PiS has gone about it.

 

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