Thousands take to the streets in Poland to oppose planned government control over the judiciary

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Thousands of protesters gathered in large numbers across Poland on Wednesday evening to denounce proposed new laws that would give the government the power to fire and control judges.

Protesters are concerned that the ruling right-wing populist Law and Justice party is attempting to force an end to the separation of powers.

People chanted “Free courts!” in front of the parliament in Warsaw as well as in front of courthouses across the country, in 160 different locations.

Protest against new bill on judges in Katowice
People gather in a protest against new bill on judges in front of the seat of the regional court in Katowice, Poland. EPA-EFE/HANNA BARDO

There are also concerns that the legislation would alienate Poland from the European Union and could even lead to a forced departure from the bloc.

The Supreme Court of Poland said the plans were an attempt to force judges to apply all regulations imposed by the government even if they were “incompatible with higher legal norms.” This would be a breach of EU rules.

The new legislation would mean that the government could discipline judges who carry out rulings in line with EU law. The government could fire or fine judges who express views that the government does not like.

Judges would also be forced to declare associations with which they are affiliated and — more specifically — all names that these organizations can be found under online.

The proposals also suggest judges could be removed for taking part in “activities of a political nature” or acting in a way that could “harm the functioning of the justice system”.

More via DW/Polandin

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