Poland democracy hero Lech Walesa hospitalized, said ‘weak’
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s former president Lech Walesa, a democracy hero, has been hospitalized with heart problems in his Baltic coast home city of Gdansk, his son said Saturday.
Jaroslaw Walesa told The Associated Press via text message that his father was feeling “unfortunately weak.” It was not immediately known when he could be discharged from the heart diseases ward of the Gdansk University Clinic.
The 73-year-old Walesa on Thursday attended a speech by President Donald Trump in Warsaw. He was booed by many in a crowd that supported the current government, which criticizes Walesa’s role in Poland’s politics.
Walesa strongly criticizes the government, saying its policies threaten democracy and hurt Poland’s ties with the European Union’s leading nations.
On Monday he had been expected to lead a demonstration against monthly observances that the ruling populist party holds in memory of President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others killed in a 2010 plane crash in Russia. The head of the ruling party is Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw, who is Poland’s most powerful politician.
Walesa says the monthly observances are used to rally support for the ruling party.
The protest planned for downtown Warsaw will proceed even if Walesa cannot attend, said another pro-democracy activist, Wladyslaw Frasyniuk.
Walesa in 1980 led a massive strike against Poland’s communist authorities, giving rise to the Solidarity freedom movement. Solidarity peacefully ousted the communists from power in 1989, ushering in democracy.
But Kaczynski claims that the transition included a secret deal that allowed the communists to retain some influence and wealth.