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Walesa demands 31 August be made national holiday in Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 30.08.2013 11:15
Lech Walesa says until 31 August is made a national holiday, this is the last year he will participate in anniversary celebrations of the historic 1980 agreement that legalized the Solidarity trade union.
Lech Wałęsa.  Foto: PAP/Jakub KamińskiLech Wałęsa. Foto: PAP/Jakub Kamiński

Lech Wałęsa: photo - PAP/Jakub Kamińsk

The Nobel-prize winning former leader of Solidarity told Polish Radio Friday morning that the agreement with the communists 33 years ago ultimately “gave freedom to nations without a drop of blood spilt.”

He urged the Polish government to push for making 31 August, when the ‘August Agreement’ was signed – only to be rescinded by the communists a year and a half later when they declared martial law – to be made a national holiday.

The ‘social contract’ with the communists came after a wave of strikes on the Baltic coast, with the ‘Lenin shipyard’ in Gdansk at the forefront of the protests following sudden rise in the price of food.

The ‘August Agreement’ signed on 31 August 1980 established a trade union which was independent of the communist party for the first time in the ‘eastern bloc’ of countries dominated by the Soviet Union. (pg)

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