Parents of disabled children protest in Poland

In a bid to secure more state support a group of parents of disabled children has been staging a sit-in at the Polish parliament for the past five weeks. A parents who cares for a disabled child receives 350 euros per month until the child reaches 18, after which the government support ends. The government is refusing to give in to demands for more funds, citing limited financial resources. Poland's press is divided over the issue.

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Government must call protesters to order

Pro-government journalist Konrad Kołodziejski accuses the protesting parents of ill-will and calls on the government to take a tough line with them:

“There are two strategies for dealing with people who are completely resistant to any and every argument and who try to terrorise others with their behaviour: either you intervene resolutely to defend law and order, or you ignore them to avoid encouraging others to take similar steps. So far the government has stuck to the second strategy. No doubt because it does not want to let itself be provoked by the opposition, which is just waiting for it to resort to force. But when I see the embarassing scenes in the Sejm I increasingly ask myself if that was the right choice.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

PiS underestimated the Poles

The conflict is also reflected in the slight drop in the PiS's popularity ratings, Gazeta Wyborcza notes:

“The PiS assumed that the Poles wouldn't care about this long-forgotten group. Studies commissioned by the party purportedly showed this would be the case. But this strategy was based on the assumption that the Poles are just as mean-spirited and cynical as the party that governs them. Since the PiS doesn't care about the difficulties faced by the disabled, the Poles weren't supposed to give a hoot either. But this strategy has proven to be a mistake.”