Freedom achieved through struggle with communist occupier - PM

Adam Warżawa/PAP

Poland's prime minister speaking on the 50th anniversary of the December 1970 worker protests said that memory about those who shed their blood for a free Poland should not be forgotten.

"Freedom was not forged in long debates. Freedom and independence were forged in the long-term struggle of the Polish nation with the communist occupier," Mateusz Morawiecki said during a commemorative ceremony held at the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers in 1970 in Gdansk.

Morawiecki added that Poles should remember those "who shed their blood for a free Poland, but we must also remember the guilt and responsibility of those who did not suffer any punishment for those crimes. We must remember, as a warning, that the courts of free Poland, the courts of the Third Polish Republic, were not able to punish the real principals, those who were responsible for shooting at defenceless, innocent people."

The 1970 events in Gdansk erupted on December 14, 1970 over planned food price hikes and culminated on December 17, when police opened fire on shipyard workers, killing, according to Morawiecki, 45 people.

The Gdansk riots ultimately led to the downfall of Poland's then communist strongman Wladyslaw Gomulka.