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From Poland With Love – August

Topic of the Month

Stop the Nonsense

Małgorzata Szutowicz, best known as Margot, who is a non-binary anarchist activist and one of the founders of the Stop Bzdurom (Stop the Nonsense) collective, was put in pre-trial detention for two months for acts of civil disobedience, including using a knife to cut the tires of a van that drives around broadcasting anti-LGBT messages, including a claim that “homosexuals are preparing society to accept pedophilia.” Such a detention is normally used in cases of serious crimes and dangerous criminals.

Currently Szutowicz is facing one more charge, of hanging a rainbow flag on a Jesus monument belonging to a church downtown Warsaw. Szutowicz’s lawyer said she could face up to two years in prison for offending people’s religious feelings “by outraging in public an object of religious worship”, as well as a fine or community service for the second crime of profaning a monument.

According to witnesses, the activist was forced to endure “transphobic comments and jokes” during her arrest. She was also set to be detained in a male facility and denied access to a lawyer. She has been publicly misgendered by the police and PiS politicians.

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Lithuania Takes a Clear Stand on the Belarus Crisis

In the light of the serious political crisis in Belarus, Lithuania is positioning itself as a strong advocate of EU-wide sanctions against members of the Lukashenko regime, responsible for election fraud and police violence. The Western EU member states, on the other hand, are usually cautious not to provoke Russian intervention. Vladimir Putin assured Alexander Lukashenko that, if necessary, he would set up a reserve police force for deployment in Belarus.  What role does Lithuania play in the EU’s Eastern policy? How should the EU deal with Russia and the suppression of democracy in Belarus? An interview with Petras Auštrevičius, Lithuanian MEP of the “Renew Europe” Group and the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Belarus.

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From Poland With Love – July

Topic of the Month

5 More Years with Duda

Andrzej Duda has won the Polish presidential election by a wafer-thin margin. He narrowly beat Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski with 51,2% of the vote. Both candidates collected over 10 million of the votes, something that had been done only by Lech Wałęsa before. Turnout in the second round of the election was reportedly 68,2%, the highest of any presidential poll since the start of free elections in post-communist Poland.

Duda’s slim victory was very disappointing for the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party. Bearing in mind all the support the incumbent president got from the government, state television station TVP, state agencies and state owned companies, Jarosław Kaczyński expected a clearer victory and a green light for a series of new radical reforms. However, he received a clear signal that the support for his ideas is narrower that the power he actually has in Poland.

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