Tens of thousands of supporters from Poland’s conservative opposition gathered in Warsaw to protest against the newly formed centre-left government led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The demonstration, organized by the nationalist conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), attracted predominantly older participants who expressed their discontent in front of the parliament building before moving towards the government’s headquarters. Estimates by Warsaw’s city administration put the number at 35,000, while a PiS spokesman claimed almost 200,000 attendees.

During the protest, Jarosław Kaczyński, the long-time leader of PiS, accused Tusk of being a puppet of EU heavyweight Germany and emphasized that the current government is not representative of Poland. The demonstration, originally planned to voice opposition to the restructuring of the public media system by Tusk’s government, shifted its focus to the recent arrest of two former PiS government ministers, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, sentenced to two years in prison for corruption.

The arrest of Kamiński and Wąsik has raised tensions in Poland, leading to concerns about a constitutional crisis. The two politicians were arrested after seeking refuge with President Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally. PiS describes them as “political prisoners,” with Kamiński going on a hunger strike in prison. President Duda announced plans to attempt pardoning the pair for the second time. Their conviction relates to a 2007 corruption case, and the recent events have intensified the political turmoil in Poland.