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Poland: Solidarity Celebrates Anniversary

Gdansk, Poland; 29 August 2000 (RFE/RL) - Festivities are set to begin today in Gdansk, Poland to mark the 20th anniversary of the Solidarity movement. The celebrations will start with an exhibit, which will feature films and photos of the movement's history, opened by Solidarity founder and former Polish President Lech Walesa. 31 August marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the 21-point Gdansk Accords, a deal in which Solidarity gained recognition from the Communist government.

The document comprised a catalogue of rights and freedoms unprecedented in the Communist world. It was negotiated with party leaders under pressure of a wave of national strikes.

On Thursday, Walesa, his successor as union chairman, Marian Krzaklewski, and Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek will lead commemorations at the foot of a monument to shipyard workers killed by the communists. Buzek heads the Solidarity-led government.

The Solidarity movement is widely recognized as a key factor in the eventual fall of Communism in eastern Europe.