President and PM attend ‘August Agreement’ commemorations
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydło on Wednesday attended events in Gdańsk marking the 36th anniversary of the historic August Agreement between unionists and the communist authorities.
Polish President Andrzej Duda (2L) and PM Beata Szydło (3L) at the commemorations of the August Agreement on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa
The August Agreement is considered by many to have been the beginning of the end of communist rule in Poland. The accord ultimately led to the formation of Solidarity, the first free trade union in a Warsaw Pact country.
“For me, ‘Solidarity' is a great legend of striving for freedom,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Polish PM Beata Szydło said: “The idea of Solidarity has survived. This is the seed that was sown in August 1980 which gave us beautiful fruit.”
Szydło earlier laid flowers at a plaque remembering late Polish President Lech Kaczyński, and at a statue of Anna Walentynowicz, whose dismissal from the Gdańsk shipyard in August 1980 led to workers’ strikes in the north of Poland.
“Today we pay tribute to the heroes of August 1980. One of them was Anna Walentynowicz. She dedicated her entire life to the struggle for dignity, freedom and solidarity. In her commitment to helping others, she became known as ‘Anna Solidarity’, a contemporary symbol in those days,” Szydło said.
Wednesday's ceremony was held in the historic hall where the agreement between strikers and the communist regime was signed on 31 August, 1980. (rg)