Polish pro-choice protestors behind Strajk Kobiet defiant after abuse

Members of the Polish community turned up to show their solidarity

By Alexander Hodgkins-Jones

Organisers of the Strajk Kobiet (Women’s strike) protest held in Leicester on Sunday (NOV1) have vowed to continue raising awareness of the recent tightening of restrictions around abortion in Poland despite receiving abuse.

New laws passed by the Polish government last month (OCT22) prohibiting abortion in Poland in all but very few extreme cases have sparked anger from women’s rights campaigners across Europe.

A ruling by the Polish Supreme Court changed already strict restrictions around abortions, allowing terminations only for pregnancy as the result of crime or when a woman’s life or health is at risk.

The Leicester demonstration came after a series of large-scale protests in Poland last week.

An unnamed man began shouting abuse at a small group who had remained in the Humberstone Gate area after the peaceful protest had ended at around 1.30pm.

“We were not surprised that this man saw ‘abortion’ and thought of the worst-case scenario,” said Karolina Ciechanowska, one of the organisers of Sunday’s event.

This followed a week of online threats directed at organisers from “keyboard warriors” who disagree with the pro-choice message.

Other events had to be postponed due to safety concerns, although those behind the Leicester event remained undeterred.

“What makes us angry is the people who are threatening us are Polish people. As women we just want to have a choice, it doesn’t mean we will run to the hospital and have an abortion.”

The group worked closely with the police to ensure the event was COVID-safe and free from trouble.

PiS are the ruling party in the United Poland Coalition

Karolina and Michalina Kwiecień organised the protest after realising British people were not aware of what was happening in Poland.

“We are all human beings and if some of us are having their basic human right taken away then we should all stand up,” said Karolina.

Polish national Anna María Sikora who attended the protest said: “This message is about human rights, it is unacceptable to change this law – we should be against it not just as Polish people, but as the world.”

Despite an upcoming national lockdown in England, Strajk Kobiet Leicester hope to continue spreading the word and showing solidarity in alternative ways.

“Boris [Johnson] said we can go for a walk…nobody said we can’t go for a walk with banners,” said Karolina.

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  1. […] The demonstration was marred by a protestor trying to disrupt the event. […]

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