Police early Saturday forcefully broke up an hours-long blockade of exits from the Polish parliament by protesters who said ruling party lawmakers violated the constitution by illegally passing the budget for next year, according to Reuters.
The head of the PiS party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, left parliament in the early hours of Saturday after police used force to remove protesters blocking the exit from parliament, television footage showed, Reuters reports.
”PiS has crossed a certain line and nothing will be the same again,” Tomasz Siemoniak, deputy leader of the biggest opposition party Civic Platform told local media outside parliament.
Opposition party lawmaker Jerzy Meysztowicz told television network TVN24 that police used tear gas to disperse the protesters who tried to prevent the convoy of cars carrying Kaczynski and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo from leaving.
Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Mrozek denied use of tear gas, but confirmed physical force was used to remove protesters.
Polish opposition parties accused PiS of violating the constitution after Speaker Marek Kuchcinski moved a key vote on next year`s budget outside of the main chamber of parliament and blocked the media from recording the vote.
It was the first time since Poland`s transition from communism in 1989 that a sitting of the lower chamber of parliament and a budget vote were held outside of the main chamber.
”The `sitting` was illegal. Period. This is a constitutional crisis,” Civic Platform head Grzegorz Schetyna said on social media.
Kuchcinski transferred the sitting after opposition lawmakers occupied the parliamentary podium protesting against a plan to curb media access and Kuchcinski`s decision to exclude one opposition lawmaker.
PiS earlier this week announced a plan to curb access of the media to the parliament, spurring widespread protests by non-state media and the opposition amid concern the right-wing government is intent on curtailing freedom of press.