Students rally in Warsaw to protect rights

Posted on 19 May 2006 at 1:19am
By Associated Press

Demonstrators fear new education minister could bring an intolerant tone to school curriculum



Roman Giertych


Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz

WARSAW, Poland About 1,000 students marched through Warsaw on May 13 to demand the dismissal of the new education minister, targeting his right-wing views and ties to a youth movement that has attacked gay and women’s rights rallies.

The students held a rally in front of parliament after marching through the capital.

Demonstrators said they feared Roman Giertych, the leader of the League of Polish Families, could bring an intolerant and overly patriotic tone to the school curriculum.

“We’re afraid of indoctrination in the schools,” said Aleksander Powlowski, a 17-year-old high school student and one of the rally’s leaders.

The protesters said they most opposed Giertych’s close ties to All-Polish Youth, a strongly patriotic and Catholic youth organization that in recent
years has attacked gay and women’s rights rallies with stones and eggs.
“Giertych must go as soon as possible,” said another protester, Filip Ilkowski, 30, a university lecturer in history. “He comes from a far-right background. He’s not just conservative it’s worse that that.”

“His ideology is very dangerous,” said Michal Banaszewski, 24, a psychology student.

“There’s a risk Giertych will let the All-Polish Youth spread their ideology in the schools and that he could change the history lessons to make them more conservative.”

The protest came four days after a similar rally in Warsaw against Giertych drew about 2,000 people.

Giertych’s party entered a coalition led by Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz’s conservative Law and Justice party on May 5.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 19, 2006.

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