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Polish parliament approves border emergency measures

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Protesters take part in a demonstration in front of the Polish Parliament against the state of emergency declared at the Polish border with Belarus, in front of the parliament in Warsaw, September 6, 2021. (Photo: Agence France-Presse)
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WARSAW — Polish MPs on Monday gave its implicit approval to state of emergency measures along the country's border with Belarus following an influx of migrants that Warsaw blames on the regime in Minsk.اضافة اعلان

President Andrzej Duda approved a 30-day emergency last week, which bans non-residents including journalists from the area — the first time Poland has used such measures since the fall of Communism.

Parliament has the power to repeal a state of emergency but on Monday only 168 MPs voted against it while 247 voted in favor of the provision.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended the measures ahead of the vote, saying that the aim was "not to restrict freedom but to ensure freedom."
Morawiecki also said that the opposition, which has accused the right-wing populist government of using the migrant issue for electoral gain, was "playing a role applauded by Minsk and Moscow."

Thousands of migrants — mainly from the Middle East — have crossed or tried to cross the border from Belarus into the eastern EU member states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in recent months.

The EU suspects the influx is being deliberately engineered by Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko as a form of retaliation against increasingly stringent EU sanctions on his regime.

The countries concerned have accused Belarus of plotting a "hybrid attack" on the entire EU.

Poland has responded by sending thousands of soldiers to the border, building a barbed wire fence and imposing a state of emergency.

As parliament voted on Tuesday, hundreds rallied outside in support of asylum-seekers.

The protesters laid out rolls of wire outside parliament to imitate barbed wire and held up placards reading "Border of Humanity," "You Are Sentencing Them to Death," and "Jesus Was a Refugee."

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