March 1968 was battle for 'uncensored independence': president
PR dla Zagranicy
Anti-communist student protests in March 1968 were a battle for uncensored Polish independence, Polish President Andrzej Duda has said as the country marks exactly 50 years since the demonstrations, which were brutally quashed by the authorities.
Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Adam Guz.
Speaking during official commemorations at Warsaw University, Duda said that 2018 would see two major anniversaries: the centenary of Polish independence, gained after the end of World War I, and the 50th anniversary of March 1968.
March 1968 saw nationwide student demonstrations against media censorship amid calls for academic freedoms.
“I’m not sure if that student movement of 1968 was influenced by the 50th anniversary of regained Polish independence … but without a doubt it was a fight for uncensored independence,” Duda said.
“In those days [Poland] was not fully independent, there was censorship in those days – completely different to today. Today Poland is independent, today there is no censorship, today there is bread and freedom and everything that my parents' and grandparents' generations fought for,” he added.
Duda’s speech was interrupted by a group of anti-government protestors bearing a sign which read “My homeland is humanity”. They chanted “there is no bread without freedom” and “constitution”.
March 1968 also saw the country's communist authorities – which were locked in a power struggle at the time – unleash an anti-Semitic campaign that forced up to 20,000 Polish Jews to emigrate. (vb/pk)