Originally posted to It’s Going Down
by International IGD Corespondent
Editors Note: We momentarily break from our North American focus to give major props to rebel women in Poland for fighting back against the patriarchal state.
On 3rd October 2016 around 100,000 people gathered in different Polish cities to protest against a proposal to completely ban abortion in Poland which already has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe and the new law would force women to give birth to children that were conceived during rape, they would also be forced to give birth to children with extreme deformities and anyone (both doctors and women) suspected of taking part in pregnancy termination (which also includes miscarriages) could go to jail for 5 years. October 3rd was announced as the nationwide women’s strike and all women were encouraged not to go work on that day and protest in the streets. Many companies and public institutions actually encouraged their female workers to take the day off and to take part in demonstrations.
The protests of Polish women started back in April when one of fundamentalist catholic organizations tied to the ultra-conservative ruling Party Law and Justice and the catholic church announced they will try to introduce a bill proposing a complete abortion ban. The organization collected signatures under the bill and it was first voted in the lower house of the Polish parliament in late September and that was when the women’s strike was announced.
Some government and catholic church officials have expressed outrageous opinions about women’s reproductive rights, some of them even suggested introducing a ban of hormonal birth control and the morning after pill. This made women all over Poland furious and ready to protest.
About 30,000 people took to the streets in Warsaw, 20,000 in Wroclaw, 10,000 in Poznan and thousands of other women protested in big cities and small towns. Most of the demonstrations took place in pouring rain which did not discourage people from participating.
Many of the legal demonstrations transformed into spontaneous gatherings, roadblocks etc.
In Poznan, after a four-hour-long demonstration in pouring rain, about 1,500 people decided to march to the offices of the ruling party down the street from the square where the official protest took place. When the crowd got there they met a small group of cops who were protecting the building. Stones and smoke grenades were thrown at them, which was followed by their chaotic attack against the protesters. Three people were arrested and the crowd was shouting slogans such as “This is a warning strike”, “Solidarity is our weapon”, “Free the detained”. Protesters tried to block the police van where the detained people were being held but after further scuffles the van drove off and the rest of the demonstrators moved to the police station to form a solidarity rally.
Three comrades arrested during the demonstration were released the next day and they were all charged with battery of a police officer.
The Polish parliament will once again vote on the abortion ban bill on October 6th.