Reuters: For Poles, defending their democracy and defending Walesa are the same

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Poles took part in demonstrations last weekend to protest against the ruling Law and Justice party and what they view as its smear campaign against former President Lech Walesa.

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Law and Justice has been accused of waging a “conservative revolution” in Poland by tightening control over key public institutions. Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize after he led the Solidarity union movement that defeated Poland’s communist regime in 1989, is an arch-nemesis of Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczynski.

The former electrician from Gdansk faces renewed allegations that he cooperated with the communist secret police in the 1970s before he co-founded Solidarity. The widow of Poland’s last communist chief of secret services, General Czeslaw Kiszczak, offered to sell documents that she claimed prove Walesa was an informer. Because the sale of state documents is illegal, state prosecutors confiscated the files from the ex-strongman’s apartment. Soon after, Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance made the documents public without verifying their authenticity.

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