On 12th of June in Warsaw in front of the parliament was held a picket to protest against the change of the penal code criminalizing communist activity. The action was organized by the Communist Party of Poland and the Red History campaign (aimed at preserving memory of the workers’ movement).
In the initial speech the representative of the Red History informed about the threats arising from the artile 256 of the penal code, which will be used to criminalize the social and protest movements, to intimidate the people with criminal trials for political views, wearing clothes with communist symbols or organising scientific conferences. For the authorities, the fight against fascism is just an excuse to tighten penalties for political opponents. There are already sufficient legal measures to break down fascist groups. The speaker postulated – "the rulers, if you want to fight against fascism, racism and hatred, stop supporting it, stop sponsoring marches and meetings glorifying perpetrators of war crimes, ethnic cleansing, stop funding theoretically patriotic organizations, that are in fact neo-fascist."
Representative of the Communist Party of Poland said that the art. 256 is a tool of the political struggle. She reminded that this article was changed 10 years ago when the authorities tried to impose the ban of the communist symbols, however that ban was blocked by the Constitutional Court. The speaker noted that the current changes mean further sharpening of the law on several levels by mentioning communism among “the totalitarian systems”, outlawing promotion of the communist ideology, possession of symbols or printings or any other subject with mentioned content and increasing the subject to imprisonment up to 3 years. She also pointed out that in recent years this article was over interpreted and used to fight against the CPP. The trial of the members of “Brzask” editorial board, lasting for 3,5 years, is example of it.
Representative of the CPP informed about the international protests in front of Polish embassies and statements sent there. Abstracts of the protest letters by the foreign parties and youth organisations were read during the picket.
The journalist who spoke last, thanked the gathered for their courage and uncompromising in defence of freedom of speech and political activity. He also drew attention to the fact that social resistance against the de-communization of street names, which led to the restoration of previous toponyms, would not have been possible if then the article of 256 of the penal code was in force. He noted that the provision on the "prohibition of communist ideology" is being introduced with one aim: to prevent promoting a different view of Polish history, another vision of a society, a different system of values than the one which the current power uses.
Participants of the demonstration announced further protests against the new anti-communist law.