THREE OFFICIALS of the banned Solidarity trade union who were arrested when police broke up a meeting chaired by their leader Mr Lech Walesa in a Gdansk apartment in February, went on trial in Poland yesterday.
Mr Bogdan Lis, Mr Wladyslaw Frasynivk and Mr Adam Michnik face five years in jail for belonging to an illegal organisation.
Days before the trial, the official news agency PAP reported that Mr Miroslaw Mikewski, the Communist party leader responsible for internal security affairs when police murdered the Solidarity priest Fr Jerzy Popieluszko last October, was removed from the Communist party's Politburo and central committee. No reason was given for the resignation, which runs counter to government claims that the trial had punished all those involved in the assassination of the priest, and that there was no "higher level" involved, as the defendants claimed.
Meanwhile, Poles continue to show public support for the banned trade union. At a 4,000-strong pro-Solidarity rally to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, the father of Polish independence, last Sunday, Mr Wojciech Ziembinski, the dissident leader, called for unity in the movement striving for national sovereignty. "We cannot stay broken up in small groups. We have to act together," he said.