By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

Artistic rendering of the Polish flag. (Marcin Wos / Shutterstock)

Chanting “We will defend the constitution!” an estimated 50,000 people rallied in the Polish capital Warsaw on Saturday to denounce what they see as threats to democracy by the newly elected government.

Demonstrations were held in other cities across Poland as well.

As Bloomberg reports, the conservative, Jaroslaw Kaczynski-led Law and Justice Party, which gained power in October, “has forced out the head of the country’s anti-corruption agency, limited the opposition’s oversight of secret services and outlined plans to overhaul public media, raising concerns about the system of checks and balances, guaranteed by the constitution.”

In addition, as the Telegraph reports, “Some opposition MPs have described the new government’s move to stack the court with its own people as a ‘creeping coup d’etat.'”

Organized by the Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD), the marches also took aim at President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the Law and Justice Party, the Associated Press reports.

“I fear that we will become an intolerant country where minorities are oppressed,” 35-year-old trader Karol Katra told Agence-France Presse. Another protester, Bartosz Kaminski, told the news agency, “My freedom and everybody else’s freedom is in danger.”

Ahead of the protests, KOD movement founder Mateusz Kijowski said, “Together we will stand as a nonpartisan front to protect democracy and show our discontent regarding what is being done to institutions in a democratic state.”

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