Poles protest against push-backs of migrants on border with Belarus
WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Thousands of people marched in Warsaw on Sunday in solidarity with migrants and asylum seekers at the Polish-Belarusian border who were turned away by Polish authorities.
During the march, which took place under the slogan “Stop torture at the border”, protesters accused Polish authorities of cruel behavior for pushing back migrants and for imposing a state of emergency at the border which prevented human rights defenders from going there to help people.
“How many bodies are lying in the forest?” read a sign, referring to several deaths in the forests and swamps of the border region.
Many Poles were moved by images of families with young children who had arrived in Poland and were then sent back across the border to Belarus.
“What our government is doing is a shame,” said Dorota Moran, a 39-year-old preschool therapist for autistic children who marched with two of her three children. “We are in the European Union and should seek the support of the European Union. But above all, we must be human and protect families and children. ”
Another protester, Marcin Kacprzak, came from the town of Plock to protest.
“We are horrified by what is happening on our eastern border,” said the 45-year-old, carrying a sign reading “Love your neighbor”.
“We see people and their suffering,” he said. “We are not looking at the color of their skin, their race or their religion.”
For about two months, a large number of people from the Middle East and Africa have been trying to enter Poland illegally from Belarus. Polish authorities have accused Belarus and Russia of encouraging migration to trigger instability within the European Union, calling it a “hybrid war”.
This week, the Polish parliament passed legislation allowing the arbitrary rejection of migrants’ asylum claims. The United Nations refugee agency said the legislation “undermines the fundamental right to seek asylum enshrined in international and European law”.
Follow all of AP’s stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.