Ten artykuł czytasz w ramach bezpłatnego limitu

Follow the big issues that shape Polish politics and society by signing up to our weekly newsletter "News from Poland: Democracy at Stake". It allows you to stay up to speed on developments concerning the ongoing assault on democratic institutions, rule of law, and human rights in Poland.

The Wednesday's protest of the Women's Strike went from being a planned blockade of the Sejm into a spontaneous march through the main streets of central Warsaw, ending in front of the headquarters of TVP, the public TV broadcaster. 

On the square in front of the building, riots broke out - the police sealed off all the exits and side streets and circled the protesters before using tear gas on them. In addition, a group of undercover officers brutally assaulted the protesters. 

Secret police pulled out of the crowd random participants and beat them with telescopic batons. The undercover police officers assigned to the protest were from the anti-terrorism units. They included members of the so-called "Chaos Department", recruited also based on their ideological views. 

- The use of civilian officers during street incidents is allowed under the Police Act, but apart from general provisions there are no detailed regulations. As far as I know, there are no internal regulations on this matter either. As a result, it is one of the most arbitrary spheres of police activity -  general Adam Rapacki, former deputy head of the Polich police, told "Wyborcza".

As unofficially established by the RMF, undercover anti-terrorists units were equipped not only with telescopic batons, but also firearms.

The recordings of Wednesday's protests show that the undercover officers of the Bureau of Anti-Terrorist Operations acted in a coordinated manner and cooperated with the regular police units.

According to the information obtained by the journalists covering the story, the police officers of the subunits tasked with securing assemblies are usually without weapons and are recommended to leave them in deposit beforehand. The main reason is that a weapon could get into the wrong hands during a possible struggle.  

So far, the Warsaw police did not issue a comment on the matter.

***

Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about the coronavirus pandemic for you.

They are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities. They work on the ground, reporting from hospitals and airports.

We have decided to open online access to our news stories and special guides focused on the issue of public health, for free.

The access to information should be equal for all.

Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation
DONATE
Czytaj ten tekst i setki innych dzięki prenumeracie

Wybierz prenumeratę, by czytać to, co Cię ciekawi

Wyborcza.pl to zawsze sprawdzone informacje, szczere wywiady, zaskakujące reportaże i porady ekspertów w sprawach, którymi żyjemy na co dzień. Do tego magazyny o książkach, historii i teksty z mediów europejskich. Zrezygnować możesz w każdej chwili.