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Solidarity Ceremonies Begin In Poland

31 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Today is the 25th anniversary of the creation of Poland's Solidarity trade union, credited with playing a leading role in the collapse of communism and the reunification of Europe.

A strike in 1980 at the Gdansk shipyard ended on 31 August with the birth of Solidarity, Eastern Europe's first independent trade union.

Yesterday in the Polish port city, the union's first leader Lech Walesa told a special commemorative congress of the union to value its historic achievements.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Solidarity still remains an inspiration for Europe and pro-democracy movements round the world.

In Brussels, Polish deputies proposed making 31 August a European Day of Solidarity and Freedom.

Representatives of 30 governments, human rights activists, and historians are gathering in Gdansk this week to commemorate the occasion.


See also:

"Solidarity -- The Trade Union That Changed The World"

"Interview With Solidarity Ideologue Bronislaw Geremek"