WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish prosecutors on Monday began questioning 21 anti-government protesters whose images were published by police over allegations they violated “legal order.”
The interior minister said the suspects broke the law by blocking Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s car and disturbing the work of a state TV crew during huge protests outside parliament on Dec. 16.
No arrests were made then, but police published images of some people last week, saying they could have to do with the violation of order. If convicted, they could face fines or jail sentences of up to three years.
“Summoning me here, after my photo has been published, amounts to an attempt at intimidating me and all the others who take part in demonstrations,” one of those questioned, Mariusz Malinowski, said on private TVN24.
A lawyer for the protesters, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said that posting their photos violated their privacy and provoked angry comments about them on the internet, and warned they would take the case to court.
Prosecutors charged one of those questioned with insulting a cameraman, Kaczynski said.
The lawyer — whose name is by coincidence the same as that of Poland’s most powerful politician — said his clients used no violence during the protest and broke no laws.
But Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak insists that public order has been violated and wants them punished.
Poland is criticized by some European Union leaders who say that the policies of the government that took office in 2015 are threatening democracy. Hundreds of thousands of Poles have rallied against the government.