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Poland: Thousands Protest Judicial Reforms

  • VOA News

Government opponents protest in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, July 16, 2017, to protest the latest changes in legislation that reorganized the judiciary.

Thousands of people rallied in Warsaw Sunday to oppose the Polish government's controversial new court reforms which opponents see as a threat to judicial independence.

Chanting "we will defend democracy" and waving EU and Polish flags, around 4,500 protesters attended demonstrations in the Polish capital, according to police. Smaller rallies were held in other cities throughout the country.

The law passed last week gives lawmakers a dominant role in appointing judges, a move that opposition parties and rights groups said would make jurists subject to political influence.

Sunday's demonstrations were the latest in a string of anti-government protests since the conservative and populist Law and Justice party took political control in 2015.

The new legislation has drawn criticism from the European Union, which says that it violates judicial independence.

Poland is a relatively new democracy, having overthrown communist rule in 1989 and joined the EU in 2004.

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