Poland marks 37 years since communists declared martial law
PR dla Zagranicy
Poles were on Thursday commemorating the 37th anniversary of the imposition of martial law by the country's former communist authorities.
Flowers are placed at the grave of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Catholic killed by communist-era secret police, as Poland marks the anniversary of the 1981 declaration of martial law. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell
On December 13, 1981, communist-era strongman General Wojciech Jaruzelski imposed martial law to stifle rising opposition, headed by the Solidarity movement.
It was the start of a dark chapter in modern Polish history that saw thousands of opposition activists jailed and dozens killed.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter on Thursday that martial law was “the most damning attack” on a people attempting to win “even a semblance of sovereignty.” He also said that December 13, 1981 was when Poles were “deprived of the remnants of freedom” under the communist regime at the time.
President Andrzej Duda was expected to hand out state decorations to former anti-communist opposition activists during a ceremony marking the 1981 crackdown.
According to a parliamentary report compiled at the start of the 1990s, more than 90 people were killed during martial law, which lasted formally until July 22, 1983.
On the night of December 13, 1981, more than 6,500 opposition activists were arrested and interned.
During martial law Poland’s communist regime suspended political and workers’ organisations and introduced a curfew.