Poland’s Solidarity Leader Invited to Join New York Protesters

Posted October 12th, 2011 at 5:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Former Polish president and workers' rights activist Lech Walesa says he is going to New York to support the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Mr. Walesa told a Polish newspaper Wednesday he has received an invitation by protest organizer Matthew Blair. The former union organizer said that as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize he has an obligation to respond.

Mr. Walesa was the leader of Poland's mass movement “Solidarity,” which started in a shipyard in the port of Gdansk in the 1980s and gained worldwide support. He noted that thousands of people gathered near New York's Wall Street are worried about their future and their country, and that this is something he understands.

A staunch anti-communist, Mr. Walensa helped steer his country to a free-market economy. But he says capitalism is now in crisis and it could perish by the end of the century if something is not done.

Thousands of protesters have held rallies in New York and other U.S. cities to protest economic inequality and corporate greed.

The 68-year old former Polish leader was hospitalized for pneumonia earlier this year. Mr. Walesa received the Nobel Prize in 1983, and in 1990 he was elected president of Poland.