Thousands Protest In Poland Over Supreme Court Purge

Thousands Protest In Poland Over Supreme Court Purge

Professor Gersdof was supposed to retire at midnight on July 3, but with a replacement already named she arrived at work to resist the law which she had deemed "a purge of the Supreme Court conducted under the guise of retirement reform".

However, right-wing Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro insists that Article 180.4 of the constitution, which stipulates that the retirement age of judges is set by legislation, trumps the six-year term cited by Gersdorf.

Since the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in 2015, Poles have gathered in the streets repeatedly to protest against changes to the judiciary system or plans to make abortion rules more restrictive.

But the right-wing government says the reforms are needed to tackle corruption and overhaul the judicial system.

The "Not In Our Name" picket was organized by the coalition of Polish non-governmental organizations during the speech of the Polish government's prime minister in the European Parliament.

Within Poland, protests against the ruling party's latest actions are likely to be smaller than other recent demonstrations because many people want to see reform of the judiciary, Buras said - and don't realize that what the ruling party is doing is "outrageous". Gersdorf did not, however, arguing that the constitution guaranteed her continued tenure.

"We are here because of the destruction of the judiciary in Poland", one protester told The New York Times, as organizers distributed signs emblazoned with the word "Constitution".

"Their great achievement - a sovereign, democratic Poland - is at stake today", Weber said.

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Under the measures due to come into effect at midnight on Tuesday, almost 37 percent of Supreme Court judges will be forced to retire unless they are granted an extension by Duda, a PiS ally.

Supreme Court justices last Thursday endorsed Gersdorf's right to keep her post in line with a constitutional provision mandating a six-year term for the chief justice.

He also mentioned the ruling party's transformation of state media into a propaganda tool and the prosecution of peaceful anti-government protesters even as authorities have failed to act against nationalists who had attacked the protests.

Chanting "Free courts!", "Constitution!" and "Irremovable!", several thousand supporters greeted Gersdorf early Wednesday as she made her way into the Supreme Court in central Warsaw.

However, Gersdorf herself was long a member of Poland's anti-communist Solidarity trade union that was key to negotiating a peaceful end to the regime in the country in 1989.

"Gosia didn't conspire", said the friend, referring to Gersdorf by the Polish diminutive for Malgorzata.

Under Article 7, the most serious punishment that could be inflicted would be the removal of Poland's voting rights in European Union institutions.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the party, said that Ms. that Gersdorf and her supporters were "doomed to fail miserably".

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