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Protesters during the nationwide women strike in Zamkowy square in Warsaw, Poland, 03 October, 2016.
Photograph: EPA/RADEK PIETRUSZKA POLAND OUT

Tens of thousands of Polish women dressed in black protested in Warsaw despite heavy rains against a threatened ban on abortion Monday.

The so-called "black protest" drew at least 22,000 people to the Polish capital, said city spokesman Bartosz Milczarczyk, while other protests and marches took place in Wroclaw, Krakow, Poznan and Szczecin.

The nationwide action called by women's initiatives using social media is targeting a controversial parliamentary bill dubbed Stop Abortion, which was approved in its first reading at the end of September.

In addition to a total ban on abortions, the bill would envision criminal penalties for women and their doctors.

Polish laws on abortions, among the strictest in Europe, allow abortions only in case of rape, when the life of the mother is in danger, or in the case of severe disability of the child.

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