Leader of main opposition party Civic Platform Donald Tusk and former Polish President and leader of the Independent Polish Trade Union Solidarity Lech Walesa take part in the '4th June March' in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday. Photo by Pawel Supernak/EPA-EFE
June 4 (UPI) -- Opposition party leaders are heading one of Poland's largest protests in Warsaw on Sunday, marching against the conservative Law and Justice party.
People from across the country came out in force on the 34th anniversary of the trade union, Solidarity, defeating the Communist Party in 1989's election. With another election coming this fall, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski tweeted that Sunday's demonstration may foreshadow the results at the polls.
Trzaskowski estimates that 500,000 people took part in the protest. No official number has been calculated.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk and former President Lech Walesa were among the prominent opposition leaders in attendance, the BBC reports. Walesa was the leader of Solidarity in the 1980s.
The Law and Justice Party has been in power since 2015. In that, critics contest that the party has weakened the country's democracy. It has targeted the rights of marginalized groups like the LGBTQ+ community and restricted reproductive rights, according to The Guardian.
The Civil Platform, led by Tusk, organized the protest, but other opposition parties were also involved. Protesters called for more trade union representation and rights for the transgender community.
The protest also opposes a new law that would allow the government to ban people from serving in public office for 10 years. It also creates a commission to investigate Russian involvement with politics in Poland.
Last week, the European Commission released a statement on the law.
"The European Commission is very concerned by the adoption of a new law in Poland creating a special committee to investigate Russian influence on the internal security of Poland between 2007 and 2022," it said.
"This new law raises concerns that it could be used to affect the possibility of individuals to run for public office, without fair trial."
President Andrzej Duda has proposed making amendments to the law to respond to these criticisms.