Thousands of Polish police, firefighters march over pay

Thousands of disgruntled police, firefighters and other security workers marched noisily through the Polish capital Tuesday to demand higher pay and more favorable retirement conditions.

Buses carried protesters from across Poland for the march that organizing trade unions said would gather some 15,000 participants, including border and prison guards. With a cardboard coffin labeled "Police" and with horns and whistles they walked to the Presidential Palace where they left a petition asking President Andrzej Duda to support their demands.

Their demands were read out over loudspeakers and some protesters threw firecrackers as they continued to the office of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and rallied there.

They are demanding an immediate raise of 650 zlotys (150 euros; $170) and the right to retire after 25 years of service, regardless of age, which is now set at 55 minimum.

Pre-tax monthly earnings in the police range from 2,000 to 4,200 zlotys (470-980 euros; $540-$1,140).

Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski, speaking on state Polish Radio 1 Tuesday, described the situation of the police as "not rich" and said he agreed with many of the demands. He said he has ordered substantial raises as of Jan. 1.