December 20, 2016 / 7:59 AM / 3 years ago

Polish police force protesters away from parliament, put up barriers

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish police erected metal barriers around parliament early on Tuesday, forcing demonstrators away from the building where they were protesting against government plans to restrict media access to the debating chamber.

The protests began on Friday after the parliamentary speaker announced the plans and opposition lawmakers occupied the podium in the chamber. That sit-in continued on Tuesday.

A small crowd continued the vigil outside the building into a fifth day but police, saying the gathering was illegal, grabbed or escorted them to the other side of the street overnight before putting up the barriers, footage from broadcaster TVN24 showed.

The protesters had earlier set up a few tents on the other side of the street.

The nationalist-minded, eurosceptic PiS government has already put state media under its direct control, passed legislation that weakened the constitutional court and approved a bill that critics say will infringe on the freedom of assembly.

The measures have brought hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets over the past year and raised concerns among Poland’s European partners.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Marcin Goettig; editing by John Stonestreet

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