WARSAW, Poland -- Warsaw's mayor criticized police for using tear gas on mostly female protesters on Wednesday evening at the latest in a string of women-led protests against a top court ruling restricting abortion.
Political tensions have been extremely high in Poland since the constitutional court ruled last month to impose a near total ban on abortion. Mass street protests have so far prevented the government from enforcing the ruling.
Meanwhile, a standoff with the European Union and a surge in coronavirus infections — with a record number of 637 deaths in one day recorded Thursday — as well as frustration over the government's handling of the pandemic are all contributing to a sense of deepening crisis in the country.
“Tear gas against women? Really, Polish police?” Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski wrote on Twitter after a protest in Warsaw that was smaller than many of the demonstrations of past weeks.
“The use of direct coercion must be justified and proportionate, it must be a last resort. I believe there was no reason to use it against women’s and youth demonstrations. There were many more policemen than protesters,” Trzaskowski wrote.