Protest at Warszaw City Council against Cuts in Education

On May 9, a protest was held during the continuation of a Warsaw City Council meeting against the city's plans regarding education. The city has made cuts and is "recommending" some changes in schools such as firing some staff, cutting the working hours of school caretakers and eliminating the maximum number of children per class.

There was not a huge crowd at this protest, since it was the continuation of a session held earlier which was cut short and we didn't have notice of it. But still some people came - parents and different education workers.

We found out about some more cuts being made from protesting speech therapists from Bemowo. So we are now seeing that probably some specialists like speech therapists and school psychologists will be the next victims of cuts. Just before May Day, as our new Education Workers' Bulletin was being made, we heard from these workers in Legionowo, a suburb of Warsaw, that their working hours were being increased by 33%, with no extra pay. Now we have met speech therapists from Bemowo who have also had their hours increased as part of austerity measures.

Seeing the people in the audience, a few councilpeople tried to change the agenda of the session to include the education question, but were quickly voted down by the neoliberal majority. People did not like this and started shouting different slogans at the politicians. The Chairwoman of the Council, in her typical fashion, make a break and went to eat cake.

After the break ended, one man noticed that the corridor was filled up with police in riot gear. He started to shout to the people and at the politicians that they brought the anti-terrorist squads against them. One member of ZSP yelled to the politicians that they were the real terrorists and should be beat up. People went to the corridor to try to take photos of what was happening, but the police probably did not want this to be in the media and by time people got there, they could see the police running away into another place.

None of these people had ever been to the city council before and were quite disgusted, surprised and some a bit scared of what happened. In fact, it was extremely strange to see this amount of police called, especially against a crowd like this of nearly all women and clearly not the riotting type.

ZSP has called for more actions and will revisit the Council with a bigger crowd during the next regularly scheduled session.

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