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16 Dec, 2020 14:52

Women's Strike lightning logo on Polish flag could see offenders locked up for 1 year, as probe launched

Women's Strike lightning logo on Polish flag could see offenders locked up for 1 year, as probe launched

Polish prosecutors are probing a possible insult to the national flag after a Warsaw family hung the red and white banner altered to include the logo of a women's group behind protests against a recent abortion ruling.

At the weekend police entered a home in the Polish capital and seized the offending flag, which had been altered from its usual red and white stripes to include the lightning bolt symbol of the Women's Strike movement. 

Protests organized by Women's Strike rocked Warsaw in October as thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against a near-total ban on abortion issued by a Polish court on October 22.

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Aleksandra Skrzyniarz, a spokesperson for the District Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw, confirmed on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation to determine if Polish law around flags had been breached. 

Insulting, destroying, damaging or removing a Polish emblem, banner, or flag can be punishable by up to one year in prison, according to the country's penal code.

Footage of the flag seizure appeared to show police entering an apartment in Warsaw on Saturday night and taking the item down from a balcony.

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A police spokesperson said officers responded to a formal complaint from a member of the public in the city's Ursus district.

The lightning bolt symbol has been an ubiquitous feature on placards and banners during protests against Poland's abortion ruling, which at times have descended into violence involving police and protesters.

The largely Catholic country's Constitutional Court ruled on October 22 that abortion due to fetal defects is unconstitutional, meaning abortion can only now take place in cases of incest, rape or to protect the life of a mother.

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