Hundreds of protesters gathered in Warsaw's Old Town on Saturday, May 16, to demand the government reopens businesses amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shutdown in place in Poland. Reports indicate that police officers cordoned off the vicinity of the planned demonstration and fired tear gas and used physical force to disperse the protesters gathered in the early afternoon (local time). Public gatherings remain banned amid the COVID-19 restrictions in place. Local media reports suggest Jacek Bury, a senator and member of the opposition group the Civic Coalition, was detained by the police during the clashes. Polish police reportedly denied the incident and stated that they did not detain the senator.
Further associated demonstrations are possible in Warsaw and other major urban areas across Poland over the coming days and weeks.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and abide by all restrictions implemented by local authorities.
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