Judges, lawyers and citizens from Poland and some 20 other European countries are walking a silent march in Warsaw against further erosion of the rule of law by the nationalist government. A number of Dutch judges also participated.

The Dutch Council for the Rule of Law reports that a number of Dutch judges have responded to a call from the Polish Judicial Association to join the march.

The silent journey runs Saturday from the High Court in Warsaw to the Polish Lower House. Judges and lawyers will wear their gowns as a symbol of their "dedication to the law and the societies of Europe".

The judges are demonstrating against the reforms that have been implemented in recent years by the nationalist government party PiS (Justice & Justice) and are, according to critics, designed to silence dissident judges.

New bill punishes judges for 'political activities'

The most recent concern of the judges and lawyers is a bill that was passed in the lower house in December and will soon be dealt with in the Polish senate.

The new law can punish judges for undertaking "political activities," such as membership of NGOs. For this they can get a fine, salary reduction or dismissal.

The Polish judges' association describes the current challenges facing the rule of law as the largest "since 1989", the year that Poland shook off the Soviet yoke and asks its European colleagues to stand up for the rule of law with them.