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Spontaneous gatherings still banned. "I'm not buying it"

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

Autor:
gf
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TVN24 News in English, TVN24, PAP
Poland eases COVID restrictions but spontaneous gatherings still banned
Poland eases COVID restrictions but spontaneous gatherings still bannedTVN24
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TVN24Poland eases COVID restrictions but spontaneous gatherings still banned

The government has decided to allow more people to participate in registered public gatherings starting June 6, but it hasn't done so with respect to spontaneous gatherings. "I can believe in many things, but spontaneous gatherings escalating into demonstrations of hundreds, I'm not buying tit" - the Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek said when asked about the issue.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski announced on Wednesday further easing of coronavirus restrictions, including raising the number of people allowed at social events and gatherings, from 50 up to 150. The decision, however, does not cover spontaneous gatherings, which still remain illegal.

Reminded by reporters that spontaneous gatherings were still banned, Niedzielski replied: "In that case, they remain banned".

Asked if he could explain the reason for which the ban was still in place, the minister did not respond. "Next question please" - he said.

Later on Wednesday, the Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek was asked about the issue. "Do you honestly believe in spontaneous gatherings, that people all of a sudden want to meet up: five people here, five over there, and suddenly it becomes 500" - she said to TVN24 reporter Radomir Wit. "These aren't spontaneous gatherings" - she added.

"I can believe in many things, but spontaneous gatherings escalating into demonstrations of hundreds, I'm not buying it" - the speaker of the lower house said.

Reminded by the reporter that the right to hold demonstrations is a fundamental democratic right, Witek proposed to compare "how democracy in the pandemic looks for example in Germany". "There you won't go shopping or cut your hair, no one will see you unless you're scheduled first" - she argued. "Armed soldiers walk around and for long time there was curfew, I'm not sure if it was lifted or not. Same thing in France" - she added.

She also said she had recently met a friend from Germany, who had said about Poland that "it's a normal country and life is normal here". "Let's not complain. Never too much caution" - she stressed.

Witek also argued that "the pandemic isn't yet over", and added that "at nearly every Sejm session we pay respects to lawmakers who died from COVID".

Earlier that day, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said the epidemiological situation was "definitely improving". He added that the systematic easing of restrictions did not have any negative impact on pandemic dynamics.

Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights, Stanisław Trociuk, told TVN24 on Wednesday that, according to the constitution, only the executive branch had authority to introduce restrictions to the law. "However, even the executive cannot ban gatherings, except for extraordinary situations" - he added.

Autor:gf

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24, PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Shutterstock

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