Polish police are studying video footage to understand why a police officer targeted a member of parliament with tear gas during a protest, a police official said Sunday.
An officer sprayed Barbara Nowacka, a centrist opposition lawmaker, in the face with the gas as she held out her parliamentary identity card to show him Saturday night. The incident occurred during a protest in the capital against a restrictive abortion ruling and the recent use of police force against protesters.
Nowacka was one of several lawmakers who attended the protest to monitor events after police used force and tear gas against protesters at other demonstrations.
Speaking Sunday, Nowacka called the police behavior very unwise.
“This is how women fighting for their rights are treated in Poland,” Nowacka said.
Warsaw police spokesman Sylwester Marczak acknowledged that the use of the pepper spray against a lawmaker did not look good. But he said the video must still be examined to better understand the event.
“At first glance, the situation with Ms. Nowacka is shocking. We are dealing with a person who has immunity and who shows her ID,” Marczak said. He added that the police commander intends to “thoroughly explain this event.”
The protests over Poland’s new abortion law began when the constitutional court, under the influence of the right-wing ruling party, ruled Oct. 22 to ban abortions of fetuses with congenital defects, even when the fetus has no chance of survival at birth.