The state of emergency, which is in force in part of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodeships, has been extended by 60 days. The Sejm sessions were very stormy. – I am devastated that I had to ask the Polish authorities a question from this rostrum about the children detained by the Border Guard – said Katarzyna Piekarska, KO deputy. – You can’t sweep it under the carpet, people are dying on the Polish border – said Adrian Zandberg from the Left. The head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, Mariusz Kaminski, expressed “embarrassment” with the behavior of opposition deputies. – There have been attempts to disrupt, but I hope that a lot of reliable information will reach the public – he added.
The Sejm agreed on Thursday evening on 60-day extension of the state of emergency in part of the area of Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodships, near the border with Belarus. In the stormy debate preceding the vote, MPs from PiS and the Confederation were in favor of extending the state of emergency. The voting against was announced by the deputies of the KO and the Left, the deputies of the KP-PSL declared to abstain from voting. Similar opinions were expressed by the members of Poland 2050, Polish Affairs and Understanding.
After the vote, KO deputies Klaudia Jachira and Urszula Zielińska brought a banner to the room with the slogan “No man is illegal”. While asking questions, MPs from the opposition – KO and the Left – repeatedly presented a photo of a girl who was photographed with other children at the Border Guard post in Michałów. From the podium they repeatedly asked where the children were. The photo of the girl was placed by Magdalena Filiks (KO) next to the parliamentary rostrum.
Piekarska: I want to believe that these children are still under the care of the Polish state
The deputies commented on the stormy debate in the Sejm.
Deputy Katarzyna Piekarska (KO), who raised her voice very sharply when asking questions and hit the podium with her hand, explained to journalists that she was upset because she had not received an answer from representatives of the Ministry of Interior and Administration about what happened to the children detained by the Border Guard. – I am devastated that from this rostrum I had to ask the Polish authorities a question about what is happening to children detained by the Border Guard. I did not think that I would live to see such a day of disgrace – she said. “Sorry, my voice is trembling, but these are just real emotions.” I think that every person with a bit of empathy cannot pass by indifferently – said the deputy.
She pointed out that “the temperature at night now drops to a few degrees, young children will not survive”. – I want to believe that these children are still under the care of the Polish state, but the minister, for various reasons, does not want to say this – she added. – Minister Wąsik, when I approached him after the debate, told me that if I wrote him on this matter, he would answer me. I believe it because I want to believe that these authorities are acting rationally – said Piekarska.
Zandberg: We have the tools to ensure border security
Adrian Zandberg (Left) explained that the emotions in the room were caused, among others, by decision of the Marshal of the Sejm, which limited the time of the debate on such an important topic. – You cannot sweep it under the carpet: people are dying on the Polish border. Even if the minister tried very hard not to answer the question of what happened to the children, these questions resounded. I think that many Poles want to know the answer to this question, he said. – There is no reason for the Polish state to behave in an inhumane manner – he added.
Zandberg recalled that a month ago Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked for an emergency and said that when it was introduced, the situation on the border would be brought under control. – Today the prime minister did not appear because he had nothing to boast about. The situation has not been brought under control and there is no reason to believe that the prolongation of the state of emergency will bring this situation under control – he assessed.
As he argued, “we have tools to ensure border security, without brutality, without cynicism, without the hysteria of right-wing politicians, respecting human rights, while behaving humanely”. – What is happening at the moment is a breach of elementary standards. And the Left will never agree to that, said Zandberg.
Kaminski: there were attempts to interfere
– I am embarrassed by the behavior of many Members. Public opinion deserves reliable information, and that was what my speech was to be devoted to. There have been attempts to disrupt, but I hope that a lot of reliable information will reach the public – Mariusz Kamiński, head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, told the media in the Sejm immediately after the vote.
As he stated, referring to the opposition, “these people do not want to listen to information, they do not want to listen to objective facts, only yells, screams and hysteria.” – This is ridiculous. Things are too serious to be approached this way, he assessed.
PiS MP Marek Suski said that the behavior of opposition politicians was a “scandal”. – There were pictures in the phones in uniforms, with weapons, while the opposition is shouting that we should not protect our borders, but let everyone who comes here. It is indeed a scandal. We can say that they play in the same orchestra with Putin and Lukashenka – he said.
Szynkowski vel Sęk: the opposition appears in one narrative with Lukashenka
– Our partners understand the situation, they understand that the migratory pressure is very strong – said the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk a few minutes before midnight, commenting on the parliamentary debate on the extension of the state of emergency at the border with Belarus. – The European Union and the Member States understand that Poland effectively guards the Polish-Belarusian border, our neighbors support us in these efforts – he added.
According to the deputy minister, Poland’s foreign partners “acknowledge that for the time being we are coping with our own resources and means” – Fortunately, we do not have to ask our partners for help, but they are ready to provide such help if it is needed – he stressed. He referred to talks with the ambassadors of Austria, Cyprus and France. The deputy minister considered the speech of Robert Winnicki (Confederation) to be a “good summary” of the debate in which the opposition inquired about the fate of people detained at the border and showed a photo of the girl. – Appealing to emotions that are to arouse compassion, referring to the fate of children, will lead to the fact that Alyaksandr Lukashenka can only intensify the mechanism of migration pressure, also involving the use of children, because he sees that it is working in the plenary, that the opposition of such uses the argument – said the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He warned that “it is extremely dangerous, because it is simply playing with the fate of people and co-occurring in this matter in one narrative with Alyaksandr Lukashenka by the Polish opposition.”
A state of emergency in the east of Poland
The state of emergency has been in force since September 2 in the border zone with Belarus in part of the Lubelskie and Podlaskie voivodeships. It was originally introduced for 30 days under a Presidential Ordinance at the request of the government.
On Tuesday, the president held a conference with the head of the National Security Bureau, the heads of the Ministry of Interior and Administration and the Ministry of National Defense, the commander-in-chief of the Border Guard and the deputy chief of the General Staff regarding the extension of the state of emergency. The Council of Ministers applied to the president for an extension of the state of emergency.
Main photo source: PAP / Paweł Supernak