THE JEENYUS CORNER
Tens of thousands of opponents of Poland’s centrist government massed in the capital Saturday for a protest called by trade unions, an ultra-Catholic movement and politicians.
Organisers put the turnout at 100,000, while Polish media estimated the number at 40,000, but neither figure was immediately confirmed by police.
Mustered by organisations including the Solidarity trade union, the ultra-conservative Catholic media broadcaster-cum-political movement Radio Maryja and the main conservative opposition Law and Justice party, the demonstrators flooded in from across Poland.
After a Catholic mass in central Warsaw, they marched three kilometres to the capital’s Old Town district singing religious and patriotic songs.
Addressing the crowd on the historic Castle Square, Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said it was time for change.
“Today, we need renewal, and above all, moral renewal,” he told the crowd, to rapturous applause.
“Poles are exploited by those who manipulate the people, and who have no respect for the law. Democracy is becoming fictional,” he insisted.
The marchers were united in their antipathy to centrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk, though their concerns vary widely.
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