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Polish police force protesters away from parliament, put up barriers
December 20, 2016 / 7:57 AM / in 10 months

Polish police force protesters away from parliament, put up barriers

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish police erected metal barriers around parliament early on Tuesday, forcing demonstrators away from the building where they were protesting against government plans to restrict media access to the debating chamber.

Media representatives wait to enter for a meeting with the Speaker of Senate during the fourth day of a protest in front of the Parliament building in Warsaw, Poland December 19, 2016. Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski/via REUTERS

The protests began on Friday after the parliamentary speaker announced the plans and opposition lawmakers occupied the podium in the chamber. That sit-in continued on Tuesday.

A small crowd continued the vigil outside the building into a fifth day but police, saying the gathering was illegal, grabbed or escorted them to the other side of the street overnight before putting up the barriers, footage from broadcaster TVN24 showed.

The protesters had earlier set up a few tents on the other side of the street.

The nationalist-minded, eurosceptic PiS government has already put state media under its direct control, passed legislation that weakened the constitutional court and approved a bill that critics say will infringe on the freedom of assembly.

The measures have brought hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets over the past year and raised concerns among Poland’s European partners.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Marcin Goettig; editing by John Stonestreet

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