EU Tusk urges Polish authorities to respect people, constitution

Demonstrators hold Polish and EU flags during a protest outside the Parliament building in Warsaw, Poland December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - European Union Council President Donald Tusk, commenting on a standoff between Poland’s opposition and the ruling party, called on the country’s authorities on Saturday to respect the constitution.

Polish opposition leaders called on Saturday for days of anti-government protests and pledged to keep blocking parliament’s main hall after being accused of trying to seize power illegally by a government they say has violated the constitution.

Several thousand people protested in Warsaw and other cities after police broke up a blockade of the parliament building in Warsaw in the early hours.

“Following yesterday’s events in parliament and on the streets of Warsaw ... I appeal to those who have real power for respect and consideration of the people, constitutional principles and morals,” Tusk told a news conference in Poland’s western city of Wroclaw.

Reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz and Lidia Kelly; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Justyna Pawlak