We had the ‘blue’ march, the ‘white and rose’ march; we had the governing party hold a rally; we had crusty anarchists with pet mongrels (Photo taken from Dutch journalist Marloes de Koning’s blog).
Three main demonstrations today – by opposition Civic Platform (blue march), minority coalition partner League of Polish Families (white and rose march) and the Law and Justice rally outside the Palace of Culture, gathered over 20,000 people.
But playing a supporting role in this sudden carnival of democracy were numerous other little demos: the Young Socialists (who probably hold their AGM in a small wardrobe) gathered at 12.30 p.m. in Plac Bankowy; half an hour before, a handful of ‘anti-globalists’ (remember them? Anarchist types with dogs on the end of bits of string) were outside the Presidential Palace, demanding the end of…globalization, I suppose; down the road there was something about EU integration going on; and at the same time, back up in Plac Bankowy (where the Young Socialists were filling up a couple of tables in KFC) something called the Labour, Health and Ecology Party held a mass meeting, in a telephone booth.
There is some dispute – as usual – about numbers. Euronews says:
More than 15,000 supporters of Civic Platform, the biggest opposition party, are calling for the government to dissolve parliament and call a fresh general election.
Reuters in Warsaw:
"We are here to say loud what Poland feels ... We are here to say ‘enough’," Donald Tusk, the leader of the Civic Platform, told a crowd of more than 11,000 people.
Media reports say that the ruling Law and Justice picked up around 8,000 and League of Polish Families managed just 2,000.
I was at all three demos and I would say that Civic Platform’s gig was about 30 percent bigger than Law and Justice. And I have seen League of Polish Families on many marches and this was easily their best showing yet. Maybe more than 2,000, That means, with opinion polls showing their support down to well under 5 percent, they must have got their entire electorate out on Saturday. Quite a feat of organization!
Before the demonstrations the media was full of’ ‘there will be violence on the streets’ apocalyptic rubbish. Lots of people on the streets means bad news for many, in a country where demonstrations could end, in the bad old days, with someone getting killed.
Come the day, however, there was little trouble – just a few eggs thrown at the Young Socialists (maybe by Old Socialists).
All in all, a better day for Polish democracy than we have seen in the Polish parliament for the last 12 months.