Black Monday for the PiS?
Thousands of people in Poland have protested against a total ban on abortion. Dressed all in black they took to the streets on Monday to demonstrate against the national conservative PiS government's planned ban. Commentators believe this could be the start of a major wave of protests.
Polish women's anger ushers in a new era
Black Monday marks a turning point in Polish history, Edwin Bendyk writes on his blog for the magazine Polityka:
“We've got a revolution on our hands. It's the cultural revolution announced by Jarosław Kaczyński, even if it doesn't look like the one he wanted. ... I'm convinced that one can view October 3, 2016, as the start of a new era. Black Monday is the expression of women's anger at the attempt to limit their fundamental rights. These women dressed in black, gathered on the streets and shouted slogans, then went back home. [Foreign Minister] Witold Waszcykowski said that Poles have more pressing concerns. But on the day the February Revolution broke out Czar Nicholas II also said in an interview that nothing important had happened - apart from the fact that he drank his tea at tea time as usual.”
Catholic fanatics plunge Poland into ruin
Jutarnji list is also keeping a close eye on the developments in Poland as it sees the mentality behind the rigid Polish abortion law as a threat to free society:
“There is something monstrous about the way Catholic activists see the world. Their behaviour as a poor copy of God is based on the banal idea that everything that happens does so because He wants it to and He has empowered them to determine when and how others live. … A society that wants to prosecute women for having an abortion in the 21st century is not free. Such a society is simply blockheaded. It can wallow in its own stupidity, but it is also dangerous - for itself and for other societies too. Because this is not just about an individual whom one can turn one's back on if he behaves too stupidly. … And once a dangerous idea has been pushed through as natural and normal, the agenda will continue!”
PiS tarnished for good
Monday's protests mark a turning point for Bogusław Chrabota, chief editor of the conservative daily Rzeczpospolita:
“The left, which has now got hold of a politically significant issue, is waking up, and the Polish right may pay a high price for it. … Is this protest in black now unimportant? Will it be confined to the big cities and a limited period of time? I am convinced that this won't be the case. Even if the protests stop today or for a while the following image will be engraved in the participants' minds: the PiS means the abortion ban. And the abortion ban is tantamount to a return to the Middle Ages. And such negative prejudices are long-lasting. People will always remember this.”
Polish women finally rising up
Monday's demonstrations mark the start of a huge wave of protest in Poland, sociologist Weronika Grezebalska predicts in Eesti Päevaleht:
“The abortion crisis has brought about a kind of 'women's spring' in Poland - women are waking up and becoming politicised. The numerous protests take different forms and are happening across the country. Most importantly, the protests are often initiated by women who had not belonged to feminist circles until now. The first wave of demonstrations began when it came out that the fundamentalist association Ordo Iuris was planning a proposed law that would ban abortion in all cases, including rape, incest and when the woman's life is in danger. ... A particularly interesting initiative is the so-called women's strike, also known as Black Monday, when women mobilise to lay down their work and engage in protest actions instead.”