Polish parliament has approved a law that limits the freedom of assembly in some situations, something that has sparked controversy in the nation of 40 million.
According to the new law, assemblies and protests cannot be held at times and places where churches or the authorities decide to hold activities such as celebrations of “important events for Poland’s history.”
“This bill allows to avoid conflicts, this bill gives everyone the chance to manifest their views but without fights,” said Interior minister Mariusz Błaszczak in defense of the regulation.
The ruling Law and Justice Party, or “PiS” adopted the law on Dec. 2. The liberal opposition fears it will be used to block anti-government demonstrations.
“For us it is obvious that this law will be used against the civic society in Poland. It isn’t first time when the PiS (Law and Justice) attacks the independent control,” said Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz, a lawmaker for the liberal party Nowoczesna.
Before the law was passed, local authorities, not the central government, were responsible for approving protests and other public gatherings.
Front page image: Thousands of people march in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw on March 12, 2016. Credit: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images