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"The one and only anti-repression collective #Szpila prepared a full report summarizing repressive police measures against protesters over the last 100 days" - reads a Telegram message from the National Women's Strike initiative.
100 days of protests: a summary
Summarizing the last 100 days of protests, activists associated with the Women’s Strike initiative conclude that: "There were 150 cases of detention; 62 people were released on the same day, and 7 individuals left the police stations without hearing any official charges. But where there’s oppression, there’s also resistance. Thank you to all the people contributing to anti-repression efforts in every way possible: through mutual aid, by organizing and attending solidarity demonstrations, and all the vigilant eyes observing the streets who already know where to call when they see repressive police measures. You are amazing, thank you, 'solidarity is our weapon' and it’s not just an empty slogan."
The activists also encourage everyone interested to read the full report. It can be found on the Facebook profile of the “Szpila” collective.
(Anti-) Repression Report. 150 protesters arrested
The report covers arrests between October 22, 2020 and January 29, 2021. The statistics, however, apply only to Warsaw and the surrounding area, where the collective operates.
According to the report, there were 150 cases of "temporary deprivation of liberty," meaning prolonged detention in police cars and detention at police stations. The list goes on:
- "There were 81 cases of individuals spending the night (or sometimes two) at a police detention center. All of them heard charges.
- 62 people transported to a police station were released on the same day (or night) after hearing charges.
- On 7 occasions, individuals were held in a police car for several hours or taken to the police station - but were then released without charges."
The report concludes that during the 100 days of protests detainees were taken to police stations in Warsaw, Piaseczno, Pruszków, Legionowo, Wołomin, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, and Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki. Activists from Szpila managed to reach all of these places, providing legal support and showing solidarity with detainees.
Most common offence? "participation in an illegal assembly"
Listing the most frequent protest-related law offences, the collective points to Article 54 of the Polish Criminal Code ("violation of public decency", i.e. "participation in an illegal assembly"), Article 116 § 1a of the Petty Offences Code ("failure to comply with orders/prohibitions/restrictions during a pandemic") and Article 222 of the Criminal Code ("assault and battery of a police officer").
Among other charges, Szpila also lists the failure to identify oneself when requested by a law enforcement officer, disobeying police orders and obstructing official acts, insulting an officer, insulting a monument, destruction of property, and damaging a monument.
Moreover, the activists also point out that after the most recent demonstration at the Constitutional Court building there have been additional charges of intrusion and trespass (Article 193 of the Criminal Code).
Szpila: "You’re not alone. We’re there for you, reach out to us"
"What should certainly be emphasized is the scale of police brutality. We’ve seen many social media posts of people who were maced, hit with a baton, kicked, or brutally detained. There were also instances of violence, both psychological and physical, at the police stations. To all the people who were mistreated, we want to say this: you are not alone. Come to us if you need emotional support, medical examination, or if you want to share your story with the public” - Szpila activists urge.
In their report, the activists also list the most frequent difficulties they faced. These included locating some of the detained protesters who were transported outside of Warsaw, or not being allowed to see detained people for hours on end.
"We’re 100 days in, but we won’t stop here. The struggle goes on"
Towards the end of the report, the collective also included a “thank you” note to all those involved in their efforts to help the protesters, including: lawyers ("we have the utmost respect for your work, for every night you’ve spent at the police station, for every hour you’ve spent writing complaints, for every phone call and email you’ve made, for your determination in searching for detainees"), paramedics, the "mobile anti-repression group" (activists who provided basic anti-repression information and first aid at the protests), "people showed up at the protests," and "people who provided tea and snacks (ProtesTEA), transportation, lunch, blankets, and much, much more during solidarity demonstrations," the Warsaw samba ("thanks for being there to warm us up with your Rhythms of Resistance").
Szpila activists also thanked all those who took photos and recorded the protests. "It is thanks to you that we can collect this important evidence material and build an effective defense"- the activists point out.
„We are 100 days in, but we won’t stop here. The struggle goes on. We’re happy and proud to be part of something so wonderful” – the report concludes.
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