Workers across Poland vowed to go on strike Wednesday and marches continued around the country to protest a top court’s ruling last week that bans abortions in cases of congenitally damaged fetuses.
Local media reports from around the country say both male and female employees took the day off in support of the protest, with local officials, such as the mayors of the northwestern city of Poznan and the central city of Lodz, expressing support from their Twitter accounts. Students held large demonstrations in Gdansk to the north and in Krakow, in south central Poland.
The constitutional court ruling last Thursday closed one of the last remaining legal options for abortion in the country, leaving only cases of rape and incest. It has prompted a week of daily protests across the traditionally Catholic nation.
The nationwide strike was called by The Women's Strike, the key organizers of the protests over the past week. It is the latest action in a deepening standoff with Poland's deeply conservative government, which has vowed not to back down.
Anger over the ruling, which would deny legal abortions to women even in cases where a child is sure to die upon birth, has been directed toward the Roman Catholic church and also at Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the ruling party leader and most powerful politician in the country.
In actions unthinkable before, women entered churches Sunday and disrupted Masses, confronted priests with obscenities, and spray-painted church buildings.
Late Tuesday, Kaczynski accused protesters of seeking “to destroy Poland” and called on his party's supporters to defend churches “at any cost.”
People have been taking to the streets in massive numbers, even as the coronavirus spreads fast, with a record 18,820 new cases and 236 new deaths over the past day.