'Black Monday' strikes to protest abortion law in Poland
People strike against tightening legislation on abortion. Several protesters detained
17 000 – 20 000 women wearing black clothes. The rally was called “Black Monday”. At some point the crowd with umbrellas flooded the main square of Warsaw's historic Old Town and the nearest streets. Protests were also reported in major cities like Poznan, Wroclaw, Szczecin and Gdansk and in many smaller towns across this country of 38 million.
Thousands of women hit the streets holding coat hangers, symbolizing self-induced or back-alley abortions. The protesters disrupted Masses by standing up and walking out while the priest was in mid-sermon.
Black Monday was the high point of protests that began two weeks ago.
Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski dismissed the protesters, saying, "Let them have their fun."
"There is no such problem as a threat to women’s rights," he said in an interview with a private radio station, RMF-FM. "If someone thinks that there are no greater concerns in Poland at the moment, let them be."
According to official figures, around 1,000 legal abortions are performed in Poland every year, according to The New York Times. Estimates of the number of illegal terminations vary widely, from 10,000 to 120,000, from anti-abortion and abortion rights groups.
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