Protesters rally in Warsaw on women’s vote anniversary

Thousands of protesters marched Warsaw on Saturday in defiance of coronavirus restrictions on the 102nd anniversary of women getting the right to vote in Poland.

The march was the latest in weeks of demonstrations against the government’s plans to tighten further Poland’s already highly restrictive legislation on abortion.

“We did not win our civil rights more than a century ago just to allow those in power to take away our human rights,” the protest organisers said on Facebook.

Participants set off red flares and waved flags bearing the protest movement’s red thunderbolt symbol.

The march took place amid a heavy police presence.

The protests began on October 22 when the Constitutional Court ruled that allowing abortions due to birth defects was unconstitutional but they have since widened to include broader complaints against the current government.

That ruling has not yet been published officially, meaning it does not apply but doctors have been cancelling scheduled abortions for fear of falling foul of the law.

Once it is implemented, abortions will only be allowed in cases of rape, incest and if the mother’s life is at risk.