Walesa says today’s Solidarity deserves a beating

May 16, 2012, 2:34 PM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland’s former President Lech Walesa said Wednesday that members of Solidarity, the trade union he once led, deserve to be beaten for a disruptive protest they staged last week in Warsaw.

The comments by the outspoken Walesa underline the deep split that has occurred between him and the labor movement he led in the 1980s, one prompted by ideological and personal differences. In the 1980s Solidarity was the key dissident group that eventually helped topple communist rule, but has since evolved into a traditional labor union that supports a strong welfare state.

Last week Solidarity led a picket for days in front of parliament to protest a law raising the retirement age. After lawmakers passed the bill Friday, enraged Solidarity activists prevented some lawmakers from leaving the building for some time and a scuffle ensued.

Walesa, 68, said elected lawmakers must be respected and said that Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a pro-market leader who fought for the rise in the retirement age, should have dealt firmly with the protesters.

“If I were in prime minister Tusk’s position, I would order an attack on the demonstrators to pay them back,” Walesa, a Nobel Peace prize winner said in an interview with Radio Zet. “Authority must be respected and chosen wisely. You should go to the polls, organize yourself. But once lawmakers are chosen, they must be respected.”

Monika Olejnik, the journalist interviewing Walesa, noted the irony of a Nobel peace winner advocating a beating and asked him, “A Nobel peace prize laureate, a former leader of Solidarity, would beat the leader of Solidarity?”

“As a prime minister, I would have the right to do it,” Walesa said. He also said he feels that the current Solidarity leader, Piotr Duda, should be singled out for a beating and that he would have liked to do it himself.

“I would do it myself. I would beat him for not being able to wisely arrange the political relations in free Poland,” Walesa said.

Walesa stands as one of the great freedom icons of the 20th century, but a five-year stint as president in the 1990s was seen as unsuccessful, in part for what critics see _ ironically _ as an authoritarian personal style.

He gave up his Solidarity membership in 2006, saying at the time that he had become estrange from its leaders, who support Law and Justice, a conservative and nationalist party that is fighting Tusk’s pro-market reforms.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
23 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
24 days ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
24 days ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
30 days ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
Walesa says today’s Solidarity deserves a beating