17:38 GMT +317 October 2018
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    The Neptune fountain, one of the symbols of Gdansk. Built in 1633.

    Polish Activists Give Country's Neptune Statue a Makeover

    © Sputnik / Vladimir Fedorenko
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    The move was carried out by protestors who say that it is part of campaign designed to raise awareness over a recent judicial change by the Warsaw government that will, in effect, allow President Andrzej Duda’s government to select the next Supreme Court head.

    A well-known Polish statue of the sea god Neptune has become the latest of the country's icons to be dressed in a white T-shirt emblazoned with the word 'constitution' in an act of protest by malcontent Poles who say that the government is undermining the rule of law.

    Neptune joins a host of other Polish monuments, including that of a former king, to undergo the image makeover.

    Activists argue that the change erodes at the independence traditionally enjoyed by the highest legal body in Poland.

    ​The protest group behind the T-shirt campaign, known as ‘KOD,' are quoted as saying that the action is part of "an attempt to draw the attention of brad public opinion to the fact that the president, despite many protests, signed a bill which changes the Supreme Court into a mock-up."

    The KOD however, has not been able to operate with impunity. In the eastern city of Biala Podlaska, two of the group's members were arrested on charges of profanation after placing the T-shirts on a statue of Lech Kaczynski, a former Polish president who was killed in a 2010 plane crash.

    On the other hand, Duda's government has asserted that such an alternation to the court necessitates much needed changes to the country's judicial system, long hampered by the remnants of a cumbersome bureaucracy inherited from the communist era.

    Alongside large civilian protests in Warsaw, Duda's move also earned him the consternation of the European Union, which threatened to suspend Poland's membership of the European Union (EU) over the Supreme Court legislation.

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    Tags:
    protest, reform, Constitution, Gdansk, Poland
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