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Polish officials commemorate 1980 August Agreement

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 31.08.2018 16:02
Polish officials on Friday marked the anniversary of the August Agreement of 1980 which saw the end of mass protests and signified the beginning of the end of communism in the country.
Mateusz Morawiecki at the historic Gdańsk shipyard gate. Photo: PAP/Adam WarżawaMateusz Morawiecki at the historic Gdańsk shipyard gate. Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the agreement was a victory which stemmed from “unity and a will to fight” and thanked the protesters of August 1980 who took a stand against the communist regime.

He added that the protests were “a fight for freedom in an enslaved country”.

Morawiecki and President Andrzej Duda laid wreaths on Friday in front of the historic gate to the Gdańsk shipyard which was the site of the first workers' strikes in August 1980.

They were later expected to take part in a Catholic Mass in honour of the event.

Former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa was also expected to attend.

The Catholic Church was a strong supporter of the Solidarity movement, which fought to bring down the oppressive communist regime.

Workers at the Gdańsk shipyard, led by Wałęsa, the face of Solidarity in Poland, went on strike in August 1980, demanding better pay, the reinstatement of an unfairly sacked colleague, and a monument to workers who had died in protests ten years earlier.

Workers from other cities joined the strike, leading the communist regime to make concessions.

The August Agreement, signed on August 31, 1980, led to relaxed censorship and allowed independent trade unions.

This ultimately allowed the Solidarity trade union to gain ground and helped lead to the end of communism in Poland in 1989. (vb/pk)

Source: IAR, PAP

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