Polish PM marks Wujek coal pit massacre
Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, has commemorated the shooting dead of nine protesting coal miners by communist riot police units in December 1981.
The massacre at the Wujek coal mine in Katowice on December 16 was the deadliest and bloodiest single incident to take place during martial law, which had been introduced just a few days earlier in an attempt to crush the Solidarity trade union.
Along with the nine killed dozens of other miners were wounded in the shooting and a series of violent clashes that had preceded it.
"Today we bow our heads and thank those whose blood has paved the way to (anti-communist movement - PAP) Solidarity, freedom, and an independent Republic of Poland,” Morawiecki said in front of the monument to the miners killed.
He noted that at that time thousands of miners had bravely stood up to fight for the country's freedom, and though the fight against "this inhuman power" was very unequal, it planted the seeds of freedom.
"The blood that was shed here was not shed for nothing," he added.
On December 16, 1981, three days after the imposition of martial law in Poland by the country's communist authorities, a strike in Katowice's Wujek coal mine was brutally suppressed by armoured riot police units. Nine miners lost their lives and dozens were injured in the clashes.