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Czarek Sokolowski Associated Press A compact crowd filled the main arteries of the Polish capital on Sunday, October 1. The demonstrators loudly proclaimed their disagreement with the authorities.

“Around a million people”, according to the Warsaw town hall, demonstrated on Sunday in the center of the Polish capital against the populist-nationalist government, 15 days before the legislative elections.

Organized at the call by Donald Tusk, former prime minister and leader of the centrist Civic Coalition bloc, the rally aimed to mobilize voters ahead of the vote.

“I want to tell you that there are more than a million of us,” Donald Tusk told the demonstrators. According to him, it is “the largest political demonstration in the history of Poland” and “the largest political gathering today in the world”. “We are Poland! », he said at the end of this “March of a million hearts” which filled the main arteries of the capital with a compact crowd.

Attacking the party populist nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) in power, he declared that “Poland deserves better, I am even convinced that Poland deserves the best.”

“We are here to win” the legislative elections of October 15, Tusk said, as demonstrators chanted “We will win!” ”.

Brandishing Polish and European flags and a small white and red heart, symbol of the centrist coalition, stuck to their chests, the demonstrators loudly proclaimed their disagreement with the government.

One of them, Kazimierz Figzal, made a seven-hour journey to reach the capital from southwest Poland.

“We are fed up with what we are witnessing today. Our freedom is reduced. We want democracy, for our children and our grandchildren,” the 65-year-old told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“It is high time to return to normal , the rule of law, freedom of choice and expression,” said Monika Pieleszynska, a 43-year-old office worker from Piechowice (southwest).

Many political figures joined the march, including leaders of other opposition parties.

“We are ready to win, we are ready to form a democratic, European and modern government,” Robert Biedron, co-leader of the New Left party, told the crowd.

“Nothing is decided”

Despite numerous conflicts with the European Union and accusations of attacks on the rule of law, PiS, the nationalist populist party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, maintains a comfortable lead in the polls, with around 35% of voting intentions, according to the polling institute IBRiS.

The Civic Coalition is in second place, supported by 27% of voters, according to the same study.

However, according to Tusk, polls commissioned by his party show that PiS's lead has increased recently reduced to just two percentage points.

PiS leaders held their own rally in the southern city of Katowice this Sunday. “We don't need to wear paper hearts, we have hearts that beat for Poland,” said former Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, mocking the symbol of the opposition march.

Bartlomiej Piela, himself from Katowice, chose to come to Warsaw on Sunday to take part in the demonstration and protest against “what is happening in Poland”.

“Breaking rights fundamental civic rights and the freedom of women to choose their way of life, pitting Poles against each other […] I hope the march will mobilize people to change this,” said the 29-year-old.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116