A blog by an American expatriate living in the heart of New Europe

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Police and miners injured as union protest turns into running battle


Yesterday's protest of 5,500 miners in Warsaw turned into a battle with the police during which 24 policemen and seven miners were injured. The miners arrived in Warsaw to convince the Sejm to pass a retirement act prepared by the Solidarity trade union, which guaranteed the miners the right to retire after 25 years of work. The Sejm Speaker Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz did not agree to put the act to the vote, claiming, "at the end of its term the Sejm does not have the right to make decisions which may ruin the public finance system." The representatives of the miners negotiated with Cimoszewicz who ultimately agreed to meet some of their demands and to put the draft act forward for voting. However, it did not stop some of the miners initiating a battle with the police and damaging, among others, a nearby monument and two diplomatic vehicles from a nearby embassy. The police detained around 70 of the most aggressive protesters. "I want to express my regret because of what happened in front of the Sejm," stated Dominik Kolorz, the head of the miners' Solidarity trade union, "There were a 100 insane people for whom I apologize." The Sejm is to vote on the act today or tomorrow.


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