All Solidarity people simply wanted Poland to be Poland, PM says
The Polish president and prime minister attended on Monday the observance marking the 40th anniversary of the imposition of martial law and expressed their gratitude to all people fighting for a free Poland forty years ago.
On December 13, 1981, Poland's communist government, led by General Wojciech Jaruzelski, imposed martial law to crack down on Solidarity, the free trade union that had become a direct challenge to the one-party state. Thousands of the union’s members were arrested and interned while the whole of society came under tough restrictions.
The main observance was held at the Museum of Cursed Soldiers and Political Prisoners in Warsaw, once a jail where anti-communist independence underground soldiers and political prisoners were imprisoned by communists after WWII.
Recalling the words spoken in January 1982 by the then US President Ronald Reagan, who said "Let Poland be Poland," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that Solidarity people simply wanted Poland to be Poland. "So little, yet so much," Morawiecki added.
"...after 1980, the communist authorities were fully aware of the fact that the Polish people wanted freedom and solidarity, that they did not have the support of Poles," Morawiecki said, adding that martial law had been designed to destroy hopes for a better future and sow fear, uncertainty and a lack of trust among people.
President Andrzej Duda sharply criticised general Jaruzelski, saying that "on the 40th anniversary of the imposition of martial law, it is not enough to just say that he was a coward and a traitor, one should shout it out loud."
"The entire clique, which was surrounding him, was simply a junta of Moscow's emissaries," Duda added.
Both, the president and prime minister, expressed their gratitude to the people fighting 40 years ago for an independent Poland, saying that a free and sovereign Poland had become possible thanks to their struggle.
In the aftermath of martial law, and after several years of a deteriorating economic situation and rising social discontent, the communists agreed to hold talks with the opposition, known as the Round Table Talks, in early 1989. The first partially-free election in June of that year resulted in a huge victory for the democratic opposition.
The election marked the onset of the fall of communism across Central and Eastern Europe.