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Police probe why officer used tear gas on Polish lawmaker

Last Updated Nov 29, 2020 at 7:44 am MDT

Police use tear gas against an opposition lawmaker, Barbara Nowacka, as protesters block a major thoroughfare in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday Nov. 28, 2020. The police blocked protesters from marching in Warsaw as demonstrations took place across Poland against an attempt to restrict abortion rights and recent use of force by police. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

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 behaviour very unwise.

“This is how women fighting for their rights are treated in Poland,” Nowacka.

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.”

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The Associated Press