Huge Crowds Protest Poland’s Governing Conservative Party

Other speakers included Lech Walesa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and the Solidarity leader who, after the collapse of communism, became Poland’s first freely elected postwar president, only to be denounced later by Law and Justice as an agent of the Communist-era secret police.

Warsaw’s City Hall, which is controlled by political foes of the government, put the turnout at half a million. That was almost certainly an exaggeration but, even accounting for inflated numbers, the march on Sunday appeared to be the biggest antigovernment demonstration since street protests in the 1980s in support of Solidarity.

TVP Info, a state-controlled news channel, reported that only 100,000 people had taken part at most and focused its minimal coverage of the march on obscenities voiced by some protesters, a tactic often used by pro-government news outlets to portray critics of Law and Justice as foul-mouthed infidels opposed to the Roman Catholic Church.

As huge crowds gathered on Sunday afternoon, TVP Info led its news bulletin with a report on the “National Parade of Farmer’s Housewives’ Circles,” a modestly attended event organized by the Ministry of Agriculture.

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