Freedom candle to mark martial law anniversary

Freedom candle to mark martial law anniversary

President Komorowski will light a candle in memory of the victims of martial law on 13 December, as part of a new initiative by the state-backed Institute of National Remembrance (IPN).

posterunek w okolicach Mostu Poniatowskiego

Troops near Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw. December 13, 1981 as martial law begins
fot.Wojciech Frelek/PAP

‘Light a candle of freedom’ is the motto of the appeal by IPN on the 32nd anniversary of the imposition of martial law to crush the Solidarity movement, after its legalization as the first independent trade union in the communist bloc the year before.

Poles are being asked to join Bronislaw Komorowski in lighting a candle, a gesture harking back to President Ronald Reagan’s speech on 23 December 1981 in which he asked Americans to light a candle in support of freedom in Poland.

A symbolic candle was also lit 32 years ago by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.

On the Presidential Chancellery website, Bronislaw Komorowski – who was imprisoned during the crackdown which began on 13 December 1981 – asks Poles to share in a gesture of solidarity with up to 100 people who lost their lives and thousands who were put behind bars during martial law, and for those who are still deprived of freedoms worldwide.


Poland’s largest opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS) is organizing a street march in Warsaw, among many events taking place to mark the anniversary this year.

„We want to recall the grand achievements of Solidarity as well as those servants of the Soviet Union who destroyed the hopes of Polish people in 1981,” Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has said.

Meanwhile, the official March of Freedom, Solidarity and Independence will be held for the third successive year in the capital, with former prime minister Jan Olszewski, one of Solidarity founders Andrzej Gwiazda and Robert Radwanski, the father of the tennis stars Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska on the organising committee. (mk/pg)

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