Celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity movement culminate in Gdansk today.
The strike sparked by the independent trade union in August 1980 at the Polish shipyard sowed the seeds for the toppling of communism nearly a decade later.
Solidarity’s leader Lech Walesa later went on to become Poland’s first democratically-elected president in 1990. But while he is widely seen as a hero abroad, his popularity waned at home following a less than successful mandate.
He says the celebrations do not stir any emotions within him: “I don’t want to remember the events of the past. My thoughts are focussed on today and tomorrow.”
Leaders from more than 30 countries have travelled to Gdansk for the mass which will be celebrated by Krakow’s new bishop, a long-time aide of Polish-born Pope John Paul who is credited with inspiring the Solidarity movement.
You can follow the event live EuroNews.