by Barry Weisleder (dateline: Warsaw, July 23)
At the end of a mid-summer bus tour of this eastern European country, replete with feudal relics, perogies and déclassé intellectuals moon-lighting as tour guides, we encountered a truly massive protest in Warsaw. It was dusk on July 22.
The ultra-conservative regime of President Andrzej Duda sparked a wave of demonstrations, nationwide, by pushing a law through the two chambers of Poland’s parliament (Sejm) that would enable the government to control the Supreme Court. This crude power play by the anti-immigrant, anti-abortion Duda was performed in three acts: 1. Securing the right to fire the heads of lower courts. 2. Taking control of the body that appoints judges. 3. Forcing all Supreme Court judges to step down, except for those retained by Poland’s president.