Lech Walesa, leader of the banned trade union "Solidarity", commemorated the fourth anniversary of the union's inception on August 31, by laying a wreath at a monument to Baltic shipyard workers killed ny police in 1970.
GV Memorial Gdansk shipyard with flowers on base.(2 SHOTS) 0.18
SVs Press photographers, soldiers, and crowds by memorial. (4 SHOTS) 0.32
GV Crowds chanting "Solidarity". 0.35
GVs Crowds chanting as Lech Walesa lays flowers on memorial and makes victory sign with hand. Crowds make victory sign. (2 SHOTS) 1.00
GV People at government meeting. 1.07
SCU Deputy Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Rakowski speaking. (SOT) 1.37
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Background: GDANSK, POLAND
Lech Walesa, leader of the banned trade union "Solidarity", commemorated the fourth anniversary of the union's inception on August 31, by laying a wreath at a monument to Baltic shipyard workers killed ny police in 1970. Walesa was greeted with chants of "Solidarity" as he stood in silence for several seconds after laying his flowers at the foot of the Gdansk monument. Solidarity gained legal status in August 1980, when its leaders signed an accord with the Polish authorities, But the union was suppressed fifteen months later when the government declared martial law to stifle its challenge to communist supremacy. Lech Walesa recently appealed for talks with the government, warning that it risked catastrophe unless it restored independent union activity; the authorities have not responded to his requests. In recent weeks the government has freed most of Poland's political prisoners under an amnesty. But Western political observers say they do not see the move as an attempt at reconciliation with Solidarity. The Polish authorities are faces with an economic crisis and are anxious to play down the role of the union. Others say the authorities are acting from a position of strength, gradually curbing the scope of underground activities in support of Solidarity. The union has so far been unable to lay down a strategy for future activity, leading some commentators to believe that the organisation no longer has the strength or support to act as a major political force.