Polish abortion protests go global

FILE PHOTO: People protest against the ruling by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal that imposes a near-total ban on abortion, in Gdansk, Poland October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Jadwiga Figula

WARSAW (Reuters) - Thousands of protesters in cities around the world have gathered over the past days in support of Poles who have taken to the streets after a court ruling further limited the country's restrictive abortion laws.

In the week since the Constitutional Tribunal announced the ruling, those expressing solidarity with Polish protesters in Oslo, London, Chicago, Glasgow, Brussels and elsewhere have gathered in front of Polish Embassies and in their city centres.

After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will be banned in the case of foetal abnormalities. It will be legal only in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the woman's health.

In Poland, tens of thousands have taken to the streets in cities and towns across the country since the ruling was announced on Oct. 22.

Demonstrators have blamed the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the Roman Catholic Church, which has close ties to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, for the court verdict.

The international gatherings have varied in size, with tens coming together in front of the Polish Embassy in Rome, hundreds in Oslo and more than a thousand in Stockholm on Wednesday.

"It wasn't about whether someone had an abortion or not, but about people all over the world having a choice," said Justyna Bober, 32, who helped organize the protest in Stockholm.

The protesters chanted "Revolution is a woman" and projected "Polish women on strike" in white and red lights onto the side of a building, photos posted on Facebook showed.

Hundreds protested in London on Monday, with video footage shared on Facebook showing car and bus drivers honking horns in support of those gathered.

Protesters in Vienna on Tuesday carried posters reading "Poland won't die as long as we keep fighting together," according to photos published on Twitter.

A mass protest in Warsaw is scheduled for Friday.

(Writing by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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