Judges from across Europe march to defend Polish peers

Judges and lawyers from across Europe take part in a demonstration dubbed the 'March of a Thousand Togas' held to protest against amendments to the country's judicial laws, in Warsaw, Poland, 11 January 2020. EPA-EFE/TOMASZ GZELL

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Judges from across Europe, many of them dressed in their judicial robes, marched silently in Warsaw on Saturday in a show of solidarity with Polish peers who are protesting a bill that would allow the government to fire judges who issue rulings officials don’t like.

The judges visiting the Polish capital descended the steps of the Supreme Court to applause and chants of “Thank you!” from a large crowd. Their show of support came amid a four-year struggle to protect judicial independence under Poland’s populist government.

The European judges, joined by many Polish judges, lawyers and other citizens, marched from the high court to the parliament, some carrying Polish and European Union flags. City hall estimated that 15,000 people took part.

An organizer of the event read out a list of the countries represented, including Germany, Denmark, Italy and Croatia. Applause was strongest at the mention of Hungary and Turkey, where judicial independence has been curtailed in recent years.

The legislation giving the right-wing government new powers to fire or fine judges was passed by the lower house of parliament before Christmas and will be debated in the Senate next week. The EU and the United Nations have raised objections to the measure.

Read more via AP

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