Andrzej Duda paid tribute to the heroes of the 1981 strike at the Piast mine. 40 years ago, the miners protesting there spent two weeks underground in opposition to the imposition of martial law. The President also plans to visit the Wujek mine.
The President laid a wreath in front of the plaque commemorating the participants of this longest underground strike in post-war history. A memorial plaque is located at the altar of St. Barbara.
The day before – as part of the 40th anniversary of the strike – the Piastowski Cross of Freedom was unveiled there, with seven helmets inscribed in it, symbolizing the seven mining leaders accused after the end of the protest. Thanks to the courage of the late judge Józef Medyk, they were later acquitted by a military court, but immediately detained and interned.
They faced numerous repressions, and many were forced by the Security Service to leave Poland – incl. Andrzej Oczko and Adam Urbańczyk, who came from the United States for the anniversary celebrations. On Wednesday – along with four other heroes – they received the Medals of the Centenary of Regained Independence awarded by the President and a special letter from Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
During a short Thursday visit to the Piast mine, Andrzej Duda met a group of about 25 people, including participants in the historic strike. The participants of the meeting were, among others, the leader of “Solidarity” Piotr Duda. The President also saw a commemorative exhibition there.
The strike, carried out 650 meters underground in the Piast mine, started after the declaration of martial law and lasted from 14 to 28 December 1981. For 9 days a similar protest was carried out by miners from the neighbouring Ziemowit mine in Lędziny – today both mines operate under a common name. The protest in Piast was the longest protest of this type in the post-war history of mining.