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Thousands Rally To Support Polish Ex-President Walesa

Former Polish President Lech Walesa

Thousands of people rallied in the northern Polish city of Gdansk on February 28 to support Lech Walesa, the former democracy leader and ex-president who is facing renewed allegations of having collaborated with Poland's communist-era secret police.

Secret police files recently surfaced suggesting that Walesa collaborated with the hated secret police in the 1970s for money.

Walesa says he signed a cooperation agreement, but never acted on it.

Walesa, who lives in Gdansk, sent his wife, Danuta, who told the rally he never did anything to hurt anybody and never took money.

Walesa's supporters say the government is attacking Walesa for political gain. They accuse the government of trying to tarnish the legacy of Walesa, Poland's democracy icon.

The Gdansk rally came a day after a similar protest in the capital, Warsaw.

Walesa founded the Solidarity movement in 1980 that eventually helped to topple communism.

The ruling Law and Justice party took control of the government in November.

Its supporters say it is promoting Catholic values and helping Poland's poorest citizens.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters