July 17 (UPI) — Thousands of protesters in Poland gathered outside of parliament on Sunday in Warsaw to voice opposition to a draft law reforming the judiciary.
The latest effort by the ruling Law and Justice, or PiS, political party would force all Supreme Court justices to step down. The law, which passed Poland’s Senate on Saturday, comes after the PiS passed another bill on Wednesday giving parliament more power in the appointment of judges.
Polish President Andrzej Duda has not indicated he plans to veto the judiciary changes, BBC News reported. Critics of the changes argue the laws will erode the independence of judges and undermine Poland’s democracy.
The ruling government argues the changes are necessary because the judiciary system is corrupt and benefits the Polish elite. PiS also argues the judiciary was not purged after the fall of communism, suggesting the ideology affects the branch.
Police in Warsaw said up to 4,500 people joined the protest on Sunday, while officials from Warsaw’s city hall said more than 10,000 people participated.