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GAZETA WYBORCZA

The Day That Changed Polish Women Forever

The massive march in Warsaw and other protests against Poland's proposed strict new anti-abortion law is a revolutionary moment in what it means to be a Polish woman.

Women protesting in Warsaw, Poland
Women protesting in Warsaw, Poland

-Editorial-

WARSAW — It wasn't just a Polish women's protest. It was Polish women and men protesting the violation of their human rights and freedom by Poland's governing Law and Justice party. It was a demonstration to defend the progressive values of Poland against the parliament's majority, which is trying to change the country into a religiously fanatic nation. It was an outcry to protect the dignity of women.

According to the Law and Justice party, an unborn human requires more protection than a living one. These lawmakers want to put in jail women who refuse to give birth to a baby conceived from a rape. They want to imprison women who don't want to give birth because their pregnancy endangers their health or life.

We learned an important lesson about solidarity on Monday. Polish women protested not only on their own behalf but also on the behalf of other women who were not present during the demonstrations due to economic or social constraints. Teachers, who are not legally permitted to take a day off on short notice, wore black at schools. Moreover, it was clear that abortion was no longer just a women's issue. Men showed their solidarity by supporting their mothers, wives, sisters, girlfriends, daughters and female colleagues by taking over their chores, looking after their children or standing by their side at the protests.

On Monday morning, Poland's foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, mocked the protests saying: "Let them have fun." By afternoon, when TV stations showed the protests in many cities, he probably lost his sense of humor. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of people on the streets. In Warsaw, there were tens of thousands of protesters. It was raining but people stood at the protests with umbrellas, full of determination but also good humor that was clear from the witty banners they held and the songs they sang.

Something unprecedented has happened. Polish women showed what they're capable of. They proved they have veto power, a power greater than what the heads of many trade unions hold. After all, which union would be able to organize so many protests in so many cities all over the country in just one working day? Only Polish women can do something like that.

Anyone who saw what happened on Monday, anyone who stood there in the rain among all their fellow protesters, does not have a doubt — ordinary Polish women have started a revolution.

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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