Poland sees mass protests and pro-EU rallies as people fear ‘Polexit’

On Sunday, more than 100,000 Poles took to the streets of Warsaw as well as in cities and towns in Poland in support of its membership of the European Union (EU). A recent controversial ruling by the country’s court could jeopardize Poland’s EU membership. The court ruled that important EU laws were “incompatible” with the constitution of the nation. There were protests in approximately 100 towns and cities.

On Thursday, the court declared that EU law did not have primacy over the Polish constitution. This has been the biggest challenge to the supremacy of EU law by a member of the bloc. It created fear among the people of the nation in what has been termed as “Polexit” after the famous or infamous (depending on how you look at it) Brexit.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said that the court’s decision was correct. However, he also said that his ruling party had not planned to leave the EU. In a Facebook post he wrote that it was a “harmful myth” that was used by the opposition.

On Monday, Thierry Breton, who is the industry chief of the European Commission, said that he did not believe that Poland would leave the EU after the court’s ruling. He said the Commission would analyze the ruling before taking action.

There has been tension between Poland and the EU after the Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) Party came into office in 2015. Brussels and Warsaw have tussled over issues including LGBT rights, judicial independence and more.

One of the four people detained in the Sunday protests was Franek Broda, who is the Prime Minister’s nephew. He said that he was kicked on the head by an officer when he was detained while he was on the ground.

Sylwester Marczak, a spokesman for Warsaw police, confirmed that Broda has been temporarily detained and handcuffs were used. However, he did not speak of the allegations of police brutality. The eighteen-year nephew of the current prime minister has been a government critic as well as an activist for LGBT rights in Poland.

Source BBC News, Al Jazeera

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