Poland: Left-liberal opposition leader Tusk claims a million attended his march, police say it was just over 100,000

Despite the left claiming a million people marched in Warsaw, the police offer a significantly different figure

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: interia.pl
Opposition leader Donald Tusk, center, waves as he leads a march to support the opposition against the governing populist Law and Justice party in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Rafal Oleksiewicz)

Donald Tusk and his left-liberal Civic Platform party are claiming that their Million Hearts march attracted a million participants, but the police have estimated that the figure was just over 100,000

The opposition march, which took place on Sunday in Warsaw, was led by former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who promised that he would win the election, hold the ruling party to account, “right the wrongs,” and then unite the country. He added that “once the aggressor has been chased away, there will be no more need for war.”

He claimed that the marchers represented the nation and that the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party would flee Warsaw for good, just as they had fled for the day to hold their rally in Katowice. 

Tusk called the march the “third wave of Solidarity” and that he and his party represented Poland, whereas the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, was left “alone with his party activists.”

Joining Tusk on the platform was the leader of the Left party, Włodzimierz Czarzasty, who appealed for the opposition to form a government after the election and attacked the Catholic Church, calling for the government to promote a secular state and to stop spending money on the Church.

However, the other main opposition group that would potentially form part of any such government — the center-right Third Way — chose to focus its efforts elsewhere, arguing that they needed to win votes in smaller towns. Its two leaders, Szymon Hołownia and Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, chose instead to attend a campaign event in Częstochowa in southern Poland.

Jakub Leduchowski, a spokesman for the Warsaw City Hall ruled by the opposition, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP), citing data from the City Security Center’s CCTV analysis, that at its peak, around a million people took part in the march.

However, Warsaw police reported earlier that there were around 60,000 people at the march’s starting point and that there were around 100,000 people on the march route at noon.

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