Poland: Marching out of Step

Solidarity supporters stage a surprise May Day protest

As dawn broke on the first day of the month, long lines of blue-uniformed militia, armed with lead-filled white truncheons, spread out along the deserted streets of the Polish seaport of Gdansk. During the past two years, supporters of the outlawed Solidarity trade union had turned the annual holiday celebration into a demonstration against the government of General Wojciech Jaruzelski. As they were last year, the authorities appeared thoroughly prepared to handle any attempt to disrupt the May Day parade.

They did not, however, reckon with the nerve of the rotund, mustachioed man who...

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