Protesters march in Poland against abortion ban

Tens of thousands of people protested across Poland on Friday (October 23) following a court ruling that imposes a near-total ban on abortion.

Carrying banners that read "Women's strike", demonstrators defied tight coronavirus restrictions in the capital Warsaw.

They gathered near the house of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party leader.

For the second night running, police in riot gear blocked protesters from reaching his property.

Lawmakers from the party welcomed the Constitutional Tribunal's decision but rejected accusations by opposition that it had influenced it.

Polish media estimates put the Warsaw protest at 15,000 people, despite restrictions that limit public gathering at 10.

Among them is Katarzyna Trojanek:

"What stands behind this protest, apart from the anger, of course, is gigantic fear that we, women will have to suffer in the name of someone's clear conscience."

More protests were planned for Monday even though restrictions on public gatherings will go down to five people.

The court announced on Thursday (October 22) that abortions due to foetal defects were unconstitutional, ending the most common of the few legal grounds for abortion.

This also sets Poland even further apart from the European mainstream.

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