WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s political fissures have widened in recent months, pitting conservatives against liberal critics who accuse the government of threatening the country’s hard-won democracy by undermining the independence of the judiciary and the media.
In this toxic atmosphere, there has been an increase in hate speech, political threats and, most stunningly, the assassination of a popular mayor who criticized the ruling Law and Justice Party’s anti-immigrant policies.
After stabbing Mayor Pawel Adamowicz on Jan. 13 during a charity event in Gdansk, the attacker grabbed a microphone and said the act was his revenge against an opposition political party that Adamowicz had once belonged to.
Some government critics blamed Poland’s heated political discourse for his slaying, some of it coming from state television. Commentators had often vilified Adamowicz for his open acceptance of refugees and gays.