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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 12:48 GMT
Polish miners march against closures
Miners take part in the Katowice protest
Up to 10,000 miners took part in the protest
About 10,000 people have marched through the city of Katowice in southern Poland to protest at government moves to close unprofitable coal mines.

The demonstrators carried burning torches and blocked traffic, before gathering outside the provincial governor's office.

They chanted "thieves", and erected seven wooden crosses to symbolise the fate of the mines.

Large groups of steel workers and nurses, who are demanding higher salaries and more money for health care, also joined in the Katowice protest.


We are here to shout out two simple things: work and bread

Janusz Sniadek
Solidarity union
"All we want is jobs that would allow us to earn money for our families," one miner, Janusz Rados, told Polish radio. "Those politicians in Warsaw don't seem to understand that."

The government of Prime Minister Lezek Miller is planning to close seven coal pits - making about 35,000 of Poland's 140,000 miners redundant.

Police said one officer and a reporter were slightly injured during the protest.

Demonstrators burnt an effigy of Health Minister Mariusz Lapinski.

The protest organisers included Solidarity, the union which helped bring down communism in Poland in the 1980s.

"We are here to shout out two simple things: work and bread," said Solidarity spokesman Janusz Sniadek.

Up to 40 Katowice miners were reported to have gone on hunger strike.

See also:

05 Nov 98 | Europe
09 Nov 01 | Country profiles
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