One million people join opposition protest two weeks before Polish election

Around 1 million people joined a protest by Poland’s largest opposition alliance in Warsaw against the policies of the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) ruling party.

The march through the centre of the Polish capital on Sunday comes two weeks before parliamentary elections. Densely packed, the participants marched while carrying placards with slogans including “We have had enough and want change” and “Together we have strength.”

Polish opposition leader, former premier and head of the centrist Civic Coalition bloc, Donald Tusk addresses protesters at a rally in Warsaw on Sunday. Photo: AFP

“Nothing can stop this force,” former prime minister Donald Tusk said on Sunday. “Let no one in the ranks of power up there have any illusions. This change is inevitable.”

The demonstration, dubbed the “March of a Million Hearts,” was called by Tusk’s centre-right Civic Coalition, which emerged from his previous party Civic Platform. The left-wing alliance Lewica also supported the demonstration.

The opposition hoped to build on the success of a similar demonstration held in June.

Tusk said nearly 1 million participants joined at the start of the event, while the PAP news agency, citing unofficial police information, reported nearly 100,000 demonstrators.

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Poles will vote on October 15. In all surveys so far, the ruling PiS nationalists, in power since 2015, lead by a clear margin but may need to find a coalition partner to form a government.

According to a survey by the Ibris Institute on September 27, the governing party is projected to get 35.1 per cent of the vote and can hope for a third term in government.

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