Poles protest plans to expand Warsaw in apparent power grab

Hundreds of protesters with flags and banners are marching in downtown Warsaw against the ruling party's plan to enlarge the Polish capital by incorporating 32 neighboring municipalities.

The ruling populist Law and Justice party says it will help the neighborhoods develop by linking them closer with the capital that provides jobs, education and entertainment to the region.

Opponents say it will deprive local governments of decision-making powers, but is chiefly designed to help the ruling party win control of Warsaw in 2018 local elections. Warsaw voters largely support the opposition pro-business Civic Platform party, while Law and Justice has more backing in the suburbs.

Following protests, the ruling party said it will submit the plan to public consultations before it is taken up by lawmakers.