On the anniversary of martial law introduced in the country 39 years ago by the communist Polish People's Republic, protesters rally near police lines blocking the district of Zoliboz, demanding the government's resignation.

Protests began in Poland at the end of October 2020 in response to the Constitutional Tribunal verdict to almost completely ban access to legal abortion in the country. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, for more than a month and a half, thousands were gathering in Warsaw, the capital, and across the country in a movement that quickly became a fight not only for women's rights but more generally against the political influence of the Catholic Church and the far-right ruling government. On the 28 October 2020, eight hundred thousand were supposed to protest across the country, which is considered the most significant strike since communist times. In this post-communist country, unprecedented numbers of the police and gendarmerie were engaged against protesters who were mostly women, teenagers, and young adults, coordinated by a grassroots organisation, National Women's Strike.

Poland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, allowing the procedure only in cases of rape, incest or when a woman's life or health is in danger, and in cases of irremediable and severe foetal malformation. As of the beginning of 2021, the verdict was still made official, and smaller protests continue weekly.

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Kasia Strek/Panos Pictures
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