These women won’t accept increasing hate in Poland – and they’re not alone.
On 11 November 2017, the group of 14 women were attacked during The Independence Day March in Warsaw, where hundreds of far-right protestors had gathered calling for things like a ‘white Poland’ and “Europe will be white or deserted”.
Their peaceful demonstration against hate caused fury among marchers. Minutes after they unfurled their ‘Fascism Stop’ banner, the women were attacked. Video footage shows people kicking, spitting and screaming at them. One of them lost consciousness and required medical help while the others were left with injuries, bruises and cuts.
“They first pulled away our banner, then started tearing our clothes and kicking us. I was kicked several times in my back,” Elzbieta, one of the women.
Authorities initially decided to close the investigation into the attack against the women with an absurd justification. After the women appealed the decision, on 13 February 2018 a judge ordered the investigation into the violence to be re-opened. However, adding insult to injury, soon after the attack, the women were themselves charged and found guilty and fined for obstructing a lawful assembly.
The measures taken by the authorities are deeply worrying. Fines, prosecutions and lack of protection by police pose a direct threat to people’s right to protest and have a chilling effect on anyone who wishes to express their views or criticise the government.
But these women won’t stand for it. And neither should any of us.
Let’s show that we stand with these women.
Add your voice to their fight for a fair and just Poland, where everyone can express their views and protest peacefully.
Send an email to Minister of Justice and Minister of Interior and tell them to ensure the 14 women are not punished for peacefully protesting and their attackers are brought to justice.