Initially peaceful, the protests took a violent turn when the team negotiating on behalf of the Poznan strikers were detained in Warsaw. The demonstrators stormed Poznan prison, liberating 257 inmates, destroying records, and seizing armaments. These insurgents marched back to the city centre to continue their protests. The communist authorities reacted by deploying thousands of soldiers plus hundreds of tanks and armoured personnel carriers. Street battles followed, but with the city cut off from the outside world so that the protesters couldn’t receive reinforcements, order was restored by 30th June. Officially, the clashes left 76 civilians and eight soldiers dead, with over 600 strikers injured. Unofficial estimates were higher. The victims included a thirteen year old boy, Romek Strzalkowski, who was shot dead whilst waving a Polish flag. News of the riots sparked an equally heroic anti-communist uprising in Budapest later in the same year, also brutally suppressed.
Published by Julian Worker
I was born in Leicester. I attended school in Yorkshire and University in Liverpool. I have been to 93 countries and territories including The Balkans and Armenia in 2015, France and Slovakia in 2016, and some of the Greek Islands in 2017. My sense of humour is distilled from The Goons, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. I love being creative in my writing and I love writing about travelling. My next books are a travel book about Greece and a novel inspired by Brexit. View more posts