Brussels (Brussels Morning) Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has announced he plans to seek an extension of the state of emergency on the border with Belarus.
Duda told a press conference on Tuesday that he will call for a 60-day extension, citing the recent surge of illegal border crossings from Belarus, Reuters reports.
Poland blames Belarusia’s President Alexander Lukashenko for the surge. Besides Poland, EU member states Latvia and Lithuania have recently reported spikes in illegal crossings from Belarus.
Most of the migrants crossing from Belarus are from Afghanistan and Iraq. The EU has accused Belarus of waging hybrid warfare and of pushing migrants across the border to pressure the bloc in retaliation for sanctions.
Border problems persist
“As we can see, this problem on the border is still there and we still need to do everything we can to prevent it”, Duda said. “I believe that introducing this state of emergency for 60 days is justified.”
In the area where the state of emergency has been declared, freedom of movement is restricted, a limitation that applies to NGOs and the media as well. The state of emergency declared on the border with Belarus is due to expire on 1 October.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Polish government announced that it would ask Duda to extend the state of emergency. According to the Polish constitution, the parliament must give final approval for the measure, once the President has given the green light.
The Minister of Interior and Administration, Mariusz Kamiński, warned on Monday that content related to Islamist extremism had been found on the phones of migrants who entered the country.
Opposition parties and NGOs have accused the government of mistreating migrants at the border with Belarus. They added that the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) previously stoked prejudice against migrants to gain political points.
In 2015, PiS head Jarosław Kaczyński declared that migrants could introduce parasites and disease from the Middle East to Poland.