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Tags: Poland | Solidarity Anniversary

Poland Marks 40 Years since Key Pro-democracy Agreement

Monday, 31 August 2020 07:39 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland on Monday celebrated 40 years since it took a crucial step toward democracy with the creation of the Soviet bloc's first free trade union, Solidarity, which changed the course of the nation's history.

At the same time, Poland is closely watching protests in neighboring Belarus against the re-election of a pro-Moscow president, events that resemble the mass actions that led to the formation of Solidarity.

Ceremonies Monday in the city of Gdansk mark the anniversary of an agreement forced upon Poland's communist rulers in 1980 by thousands of striking workers, granting their 21 demands, among them allowing the creation of the union.

“It was the greatest victory in Poland's history and its value rested in the fact that the old order was defeated but at the same time those who were defeated were encouraged to remain friends," said Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, who was later Poland's president.

He was speaking at a place symbolic for Solidarity — the gate of the Gdansk Shipyard where 40 years ago he signed the agreement alongside a government representative. Solidarity spearheaded a national movement that in 1989 toppled the communists and inspired similar moves across much of the Soviet bloc.

The U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, tweeted that “Without the signing of the August agreements and the rise of Solidarity there would be no fall of communism in Europe.”

Poland is now drawing international attention to the developments in Belarus that resemble its own struggle for independence.

A rally is to be held Monday in Gdansk in support of the daily protests that have gone into their fourth week in Belarus. The protesters are calling for the authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to resign. They say the Aug. 9 presidential election that gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office was rigged.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Poland on Monday celebrated 40 years since it took a crucial step toward democracy with the creation of the Soviet bloc's first free trade union, Solidarity, which changed the course of the nation's history.At the same time, Poland is closely watching protests in...
Poland,Solidarity Anniversary
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2020-39-31
Monday, 31 August 2020 07:39 AM
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