Thousands in women's rights march in Polish capital
PR dla Zagranicy
Some 4,000 people gathered in Warsaw on Sunday in a march for women's rights ahead of International Women's Day on Wednesday.
Protesters carry a banner which reads "Against authoritarian abuse. Enough reproductive exploitation". Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka.
The 18th such annual march, which drew crowds of 3,700, according to police figures, and 4,000 according to City Hall, was entitled “Against authoritarian abuse”.
Meanwhile, several dozen pro-life protesters gathered outside Warsaw City Hall in opposition to the march, carrying posters with images of aborted foetuses.
Organisers of the main march said that the protest was not anti-government as such, but against “cumulative oppression”, be it “institutional, systemic, economic, physical, sexual...”.
However, many of the banners held up by marchers carried messages about reproductive rights, following the Polish government's recent decision to consider a bill which would make the morning-after pill and hormonal contraceptives available only on prescription.
Marchers also criticised the “abortion compromise”, the colloquial name given to Poland's restrictive abortion laws.
Another 40 Polish cities also hosted women's protests over the weekend.
International Women's Day was initiated to commemorate a workers' strike in New York in the early 1900s, when female textile factory employees stopped work demanding better work conditions and voting rights. Some 129 women died during the demonstration. (vb/pk)