Polish gov’t considers amending public gathering laws

Poland’s interior minister has said the government is considering amending the country’s recent law on public assemblies so that organisers of illegal gatherings have to pay policing costs.

Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said such charges would partly cover the cost of police security at public gatherings.

“I spoke [with the government] about changing the public assembly laws to charge those who … say they will block gatherings. Because they are increasing the costs,” Błaszczak said.

Błaszczak spoke following Monday’s anti-government protest which was held just beyond police barricades securing the “March of Remembrance”, a monthly public gathering commemorating President Lech Kaczyński and the 95 others who died in Smolensk, western Russia, on 10 April 2010.

Anti-government

Anti-government counter-rally. Photo: PAP/Marcin Kmieciński.

There were no reports of violence but police want to punish 44 individuals accused of misdemeanours, including eight charged with disrupting religious celebrations.

They allegedly participated in an illegal anti-government protest on Monday at the same time and place as the March of Remembrance.

A month earlier, anti-government protesters blocked a road along the March of Remembrance’s route.

Poland’s interior minister has said the govt is considering amending the country’s recent law on public assemblies.
After coming to power in October 2015, PiS – headed by the twin brother of the late president who died in the Smolensk disaster – passed laws giving priority to regular, recurring public gatherings.
The new laws, which came into force in April, forbid counter-protests at the same place and time.
After Monday’s commemorations of the Smolensk disaster in Warsaw and an anti-government protest both held in the city centre, the interior minister now wants the law to include provisions for fining those who disrupt priority demonstrations.

After coming to power in October 2015, PiS – headed by the twin brother of the late president who died in the Smolensk disaster – passed laws giving priority to regular, recurring public gatherings.

The new laws, which came into force in April, forbid counter-protests at the same place and time.

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