Women's rights activists furious over a tightening of Poland's already restrictive abortion law staged protests outside and inside churches Sunday, disrupting Masses and finding themselves confronted with accusations of "barbaric" behavior.
With the coronavirus surging in Poland, large protests also erupted for a fourth straight night in cities large and small across the nation, including in Warsaw, Gdansk and Poznan, where police on horseback guarded a church.
Police used tear gas and scuffled with the women's rights protesters after they began to push the police toward the anti-abortion group, the RMF FM broadcaster reported.
At the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw, a group of far-right nationalists blocked stairs leading to the entrance. When one woman managed to push her way through, the nationalists grabbed her and forced her down the stairs.
A video posted from the northern Polish city of Szczecinek showed young women surrounding a priest and yelling at him to "Go back to the church" and to "F-- off." The actions on Sunday follow a ruling on Thursday by Poland's constitutional court that declared that aborting fetuses with congenital defects is unconstitutional. Poland already had one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws, and the ruling will result in a near-complete ban on abortion.
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