Logo Polskiego Radia

Poles mark 1981 martial law anniversary

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 14.12.2013 10:15
President Bronislaw Komorowski and First Lady Anna lit a candle in the window of their Belweder Palace residence, Friday evening, as part of events marking the 32nd anniversary of martial law.

President and First Lady light freedom candle at 19.30 CET, 13 December: photo - Leszek Szymanski

The Polish head of state was taking part in the "Light a Candle for Freedom' campaign, where Poles, at 19.30 CET, lit candles to the victims of the communist crackdown against the Solidarity movement, which began on 13 December 1981.

President Komorowski said that it was important Poles marked the anniversary with a lit candle "so it is clear that we remember the painful experience" of martial law, when up to 100 died and thousands were imprisoned during the clampdown by the communist authorities.

He added that the lit candles "direct our thoughts not just to those who suffered but also to those who struggle for freedom today".

Earlier, the president awarded 18 activists with special honours for their part in the 1980s fight against communism.

The leader of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski then led a march through the streets of Warsaw commemorating the anniversary.

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski gives speech during 'March for Freedom, Friday evening: photo - PAp/Leszek Szymanski

"Solidarity between people is extremely important: without solidarity there is no community," Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in a speech at the end of the march and used the occasion to attack the government's record on labour law and unemployment.

Actors reeact arrests by the feared ZOMO riot police in Lublin, south east Poland: photo - PAP/Wojciech Pacewicz

The anniversary was also marked across the country by re-enactments of events of the winter of 1981 and special exhibitions and concerts. (pg)

tags: martial law
Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us