Demonstrations against new Polish abortion laws reach Leicester
By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira
Hundreds of people in solidarity with Polish women have confirmed their presence at the Piekło Kobiet (Women’s hell) peaceful demonstrations, which will be happening on Sunday at midday at the clock tower.
The Piekło Kobiet demonstrations started as a direct reaction to the new abortion laws in Poland approved by the Constitutional Tribunal on the 22nd of October, which made abortions for fetal abnormalities against the Constitution.
Polish abortion laws were already one of the most restrictive in Europe, only permitting terminations in case of a threat to a woman’s health, in the case of incest or rape, or for fetal abnormalities – which represented the vast majority of legal abortion but has now been made illegal.
Karolina Ciechaowska, organiser of the demonstration in Leicester, said: “I’m a mother of two daughters, and I still have family and friends, who also have daughters, back in Poland. And personally, as a women, it all just made me really angry.
“As I couldn’t be there with the Polish women to show my support and I knew these demonstrations were happening in London and Edinburgh, I started looking for similar things in Leicester but I couldn’t find it so me and another Polish girl decided to started it by ourselves.
“What we plan to do is just gather there with our signs. There will be no screaming or shouting, we don’t want any abuse or violence. If we have enough equipment we might do a couple of speeches.”
The organiser of the event also plans to ensure social distancing will be respected and the group has been keeping contact with the police.
“I really want the police to be there, and to be aware of the numbers so they can prepare themselves. They have been really supportive.
“And we have been getting a lot of hate. I have been sent threatening messages on my private Facebook which is really not nice… I have family here, people can see what I look like… Our safety is as important as everyone else’s,” she continued.
The main aim of the demonstrations is to raise awareness about the issue and show support with the Polish women protesting on the streets.
“Many of my British friends have no idea of what is happening in Poland. And there is a big Polish community in Leicester.
“I think spreading the word can only do good, especially when there are so many Polish people coming over here.
“It’s important that people know this is, amongst many others, a reason why so many people, especially young people, are coming here. They are not coming here to take the jobs, they are trying to escape this government and looking for a life with more rights,” Karolina added.