Karolina Mikula had used her bare chest once before in political protest. When Poland’s right-wing government first tried to restrict abortion rights, the actress and singer gave an intense performance in Wroclaw in 2017 that included her spreading the national color – white and red – on her breasts and face, Finished with a fist raised high. When authorities tried to impose a near-total ban on abortions in October this year, Mikula, again with a friend, was strapped to her waist and stood atop a car at a busy Warsaw intersection during the protest, a Flare high and give middle finger.
“A woman’s body is a place of political fighting,” the 32-year-old said in an interview from his Warsaw apartment. “My gesture meant that I would do with my body what I wanted to do with it. If I want to stand naked in front of people, I will do it, because it is my choice. “
Mikula’s friend came after a double mastectomy from physiotherapy and wanted to encourage other protesters by getting her tattoo tattooed. She is one of the many taboo by prodigal women in Poland in the last several weeks.
The turmoil began when Poland’s constitutional court, filled with loyalists of the conservative ruling party, ruled on 22 October to ban abortion in cases of congenital fetal defect, even though the fetus had no chance of survival.
Poland already had Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws, and the ruling would mean the only legal reason for abortion is rape, incest or if the woman’s life is in danger.
The leader of the ruling party and Poland’s most powerful politician, Jaroslav Kaczyस्कीski, said that he wanted non-eligible fetuses to be born even after birth, so they could be given a baptism, a name and a burial.
The anger of Polish women, and along with many men, flared in the streets across the country, escalating into the largest protest movement in three decades, as communism fell.
Protesters in the first barricaded public spoke obscenely at priests and sprayed numbers of abortion hotlines on church aspects. Those early provocative tactics were largely dropped when they were creating backwardness in a society that had many religious Catholic traditions.
They continued their protests on the streets, however, by being refused cows by the authorities or by epidemics.
“My water is broken. I am giving birth to a revolution, ”said a signature on a protest in Warsaw on 18 November, a scene organized by a growing number of protesters.
The interior minister recently warned that the government would not tolerate “a revolution made by force against the constitutional organs of the Polish state”. Police are increasingly detaining protesters, and in some cases using tear gas and other force.
Nevertheless, amidst heavy social upheaval, the government has not formally implemented the court’s decision and has spoken of coming up with a new law. But reproductive rights activists say hospitals are already prohibiting abortions of congenitally damaged fetuses.
21-year-old Nina Michnik, a student of Arabic side studies and philosophy, used to use a court full of loyalists and the governing party’s attempt to ban abortions during the epidemic seemed cruel.
“He did at this critical moment when everyone was scared of the epidemic,” Michnik said. He felt extremely lonely and fragile when the court verdict came.
“They caught us in this very sensitive moment,” Michnik said. “So we were very angry.”
When she was trapped at home by the country’s Coronavirus lockdown, Michnik stopped a boxing workout she loves. After the protests ended, she resumed work and joined a group that scanned protests from distant firefighters.
Recent protests have certainly become a political awakening for Polish youth, but older Poles have also participated. They are led by a women strike, a group of women activists, but many men have also joined it. What started as a revolt against abortion has become a major struggle for democracy and human rights.
Prior to the court’s decision, there were LGBT rights activists along the lines of Poland’s Culture War, often characterized by government and church leaders as a threat to Poland’s culture and families.
Those complaints are now woven into a major struggle against a government that is expected to bring down protesters eventually. Rainbow flags are kept high in all abortion protests.
19-year-old Gabe Wilkinska has attended rallies against LGBT rights, racial justice in America, and sexual violence so far this year. With political attacks shaped by being raped by a boy in high school, Wilczynska, identified as a lesbian and non-binary, has received five court citations for appearing in recent protests.
Wilkinska’s forms of protest include the government’s “efforts to control our bodies,” and to join a group dressing in a red handmade dress, with slogans including messages on city walls at night: “My uterus is not a coffin,” and “Abortion is a right, not a favor.”
In interviews, protesters often say they feel a connection with women from neighboring Belarus, who have emerged as a driving force in the rebellion against the regime of longtime authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.
The decision to be weekly rather than daily, the protests, for example, was inspired by what is happening in Belarus, Mikula said, to keep people away from daily protests, Mikula said.
In the midst of global battles between authoritarian and democratic forces, some polls are also relying on US President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to promote democracy and human rights.
Mikula said that he hopes that a new, better society is being born now, given the youth dancing in the streets during the protests and solidarity with each other.
There is no point that politically in the short term, in the long term, “we are winning,” she said.
“The social revolution is already happening,” she continued. “Society is changing.”
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without textual modifications. Only the title has been changed.)
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