WARSAW, Poland — A Polish-Jewish activist appeared in a Warsaw court to face charges stemming from a pro-Israel demonstration he organized.
Tadeusz Markiewicz had permission for the July 2014 rally in Warsaw to run until 4 p.m., but it lasted longer, leading to the indictment and the trial that started Tuesday. The demonstration, which attracted about 80 people, was held during Israel’s war last summer with Hamas in Gaza.
The pro-Israel rally was in response to a pro-Palestinian demonstration held the same day. Both were held next to the Israeli Embassy. Police separated the two groups of demonstrators.
In November, Markiewicz received a warrant issued by the court to pay the $570 penalty for “disruption of the second demonstration by using a sound system.” Markiewicz’s lawyer, Monika Krawczyk, appealed the judgment.
Markiewicz calls his case a matter of freedom of assembly.
“We have received legal protection from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, an organization dealing with human rights,” he told JTA. “Despite our appeals up to today, unfortunately, nobody from Poland is interested in the case. It is the battle for the right to freedom of assembly for all Polish people, regardless of their views and beliefs.”
Piotr Kadlcik, the former chairman of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, who took part in the July demonstration, testified on Tuesday.
“It is sad that at a time when we are talking so much about civil initiatives, this protest meets with repressive and unnecessary reaction of the state,” Kadlcik told JTA. “I hope that the authorities of Polish-Jewish organizations in the future will draw more attention to the initiatives of members of our community. This is important — for Israel and for us.”
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.