Friday (25 June) marked the 45th anniversary of workers' protests in Radom, Ursus, Plock and other Polish cities, which were a direct response of the society to the rise in food prices prepared by the communist authorities.

 

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki referred to the strikes of June 1976 on Facebook. He recalled that Prime Minister Piotr Jaroszewicz's televised speech in June 1976, in which he announced "price regulations", was "like a wide-open door to later events: the fall of Gierek's team, the strikes of 1980, the creation of ‘Solidarity’ and the overthrow of the communist system".

 

"My Father, who was listening to the speech, at one point said, 'This is the end of them. But we had to wait a little longer for that end. It is significant that in June 1976 it was not in big centres that the protests started, but in smaller ones - in Radom, Ursus and Plock, after which the wave of protests spread all over Poland. We remember the events of 45 years ago and the people who stood up for human dignity. It was June 76 that was the seed from which ‘Solidarity’ was born four years later," wrote Morawiecki on Facebook.

 

"Deep gratitude towards all those who dared to stand against the communist evil," added.

 

The wave of strikes was comparable to the strikes of December 1970 and January-February 1971, and the "work stoppages" were not limited to one region of the country and threatened to expand rapidly.

 

The authorities, fearing a repeat of the December 1970 scenario, decided to withhold the increase as late as 25 June 1976, but retaliated against the protesters, especially in Radom and Ursus. The detainees were transported to the Milicja Obywatelska (Citizens’ Militia; MO) headquarters and jails, where they passed through the so-called "health paths" (a line of militiamen beating them with batons). Random people were also beaten: one of them was Jan Brożyna, fatally beaten by a MO patrol, and witnesses of this event were accused of his murder. The second fatality of the repression was Father Roman Kotlarz, who supported the workers on 25 June and in the following days. He was repeatedly harassed and beaten by the militia and SB officers. He died on August 18 in a state of profound physical and mental exhaustion.