Er...no. He’s not. So what’s the sudden interest in protest marches, then?
Donald Tusk and his opposition Civic Platform – who up until now have apparently been on a campaign of virtual invisibility while the government tears itself apart – have suddenly sprung into action.
With the collapse of the coalition last week Tusk has tabled a motion for parliament to dissolve itself – the vote will take place on October 10. For it to succeed Jarolsaw Kaczynski’s ruling Law and Justice administration would have to have failed to form another coalition with the Peasant’s Party and others.
But what has really surprised many is Tusk’s announcement that he will be heading an anti-government protest march through the streets of Warsaw on October 7 – three days before the crucial vote.
Tusk can’t have been on a march of any kind since his days as a Solidarity activist in the late 1980s.
It is a little difficult to see why he, literally, is going down this route. He says that the action is to demonstrate against bad and dishonest government. Maybe he is trying to make connections between the present government and what is going on in Budapest at the moment?
Civic Platform’s candidate for Major of Warsaw, former Head of the Central Bank, Hanna Gronkiewicz Waltz, was screaming on the television yesterday (she does a lot of screaming) that a counter march by far right member of the ruling coalition League of Polish Families (LPR) should not be allowed to take place because of ‘possible violence’.
The League of Polish Families has called in the past for gay activists not to be allowed to march through the capital.
What LPR and Hanna have in common is that they seem to think that the right to protest is uniquely theirs.
I also heard on the radio today someone droning on that the march by Civic Platform supporters was a ‘provocation’ to the League’s more thuggish supporters to attack them. Therefore, said radio commentator, it would be unwise for the march to take place.
But why should a group call off a demo because some other group might cause violence? We pay the police to protect our rights and its up to them to keep the thugs away from a peaceful protest. It’s not up to Civic Platform to deny their own right to demonstration, it’s up to the law to protect those rights.
It will be interesting to see what happens on the march October 7, and of course the beatroot will be there to record the whole thing.
How many will turn up? If the number is low then Tusk will have a large dollop of egg on his face – even if LPR don’t throw any at him.
And will Donald Tusk lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of that old Civil Rights classic from the 1960s, ‘We shall over come…’? Does he have any Joni Mitchell in his record collection? Does he have a record collection? And will he, as he addresses the crowd on October 7, start his speech with the words: “I have a dream….”?