Polish police briefly detain lawmaker who interrupted prime minister's speech

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish police briefly detained an opposition Polish lawmaker on Tuesday, violating her parliamentary immunity, after she interrupted a campaign speech by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Critics of Morawiecki's right-wing government denounced the behavior of police, calling it an example of the deterioration of rule of law.

The lawmaker, Kinga Gajewska was using a megaphone to interrupt a speech by Morawiecki in Otwock, a town near Warsaw.

The broadcaster TVN24 reported that opposition politicians were holding a rally near one by Morawiecki.

Gajewska used her megaphone to address listeners with information about an alleged visa scandal involving some consular workers who are reported to have taken bribes in return for giving visas to Africans and Asians.

Poland's Law and Justice ruling party has sought to downplay the scandal as it fights for an unprecedented third consecutive term.

Marcin Kierwinski, the secretary general of the Civic Coalition electoral alliance to which the 33-year-old Gajewska belongs, denounced the detention.

“These are Belarusian standards,” Kierwinski said. “The police detained her even though she repeated that she was a member of parliament.”

A video posted by Donald Tusk, the main opposition leader, shows police putting her into the van even as people told police that she is a lawmaker.

Police later said they had not been aware at first that she was a lawmaker.

“We emphasize that today’s intervention was not an arrest. It involved taking a person suspected of an offense to a police car for identification purposes. The activities were stopped immediately after an ID card was presented,” police said.