Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to gather in front of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, on Thursday, January 11, at 4 p.m. The demonstration is a direct response to the forceful takeover of key media outlets by Donald Tusk, the former President of the European Council who now holds the position of Polish Prime Minister.
📢 We call on everyone who believes in the ideals of freedom to take part in the Protest for Free Poles!— Law and Justice (@pisorgpl_EN) December 26, 2023
Join us on 11 January!
📍 4 p.m. by the Polish Parliament. pic.twitter.com/8tH8uen2Pk
The controversial takeover involved the seizure of control over TVP, Polskie Radio, and the Polish Press Agency (PAP), with reports indicating that a Polish Member of Parliament sustained injuries during the operation. The move has sparked widespread condemnation, with President Duda labeling Tusk’s actions as a clear violation of Polish law and the constitution.
The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has expressed concern, stating, “We cannot but note that the way in which the changes in the public media have begun raises serious legal doubts.” The foundation’s statement underscores the growing unease surrounding the legality of Tusk’s control over the media landscape.
Former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in an appearance on GB News, highlighted the lack of media pluralism in Poland and condemned the brutality of Tusk’s takeover. Drawing parallels between Tusk’s actions and the authoritarian approaches of leaders like Lukashenko and Putin, Morawiecki emphasized the urgency of addressing the erosion of democratic values.
Rather than relying on international organizations and the European Union to intervene, Morawiecki called on the Polish populace to join the protest, asserting that it would serve as a powerful demonstration of the public’s opposition to what he termed as the government’s “unlawful acts.” Notably, Morawiecki criticized the silence of the EU and other international bodies in the face of Tusk’s actions.
Law and Justice, a prominent political party in Poland, has extended an invitation to the media to cover the protest, signaling a collective effort to shed light on the escalating situation and rally public support against what many perceive as a threat to media independence and democratic principles.