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The Solidarity movement which originated in Gdańsk in 1980 sparked nationwide strikes and halted the Polish economy. In response, the Polish government, led by Wojciech Jaruzelski introduced Martial Law on 13 December 1981 which delegalized Solidarity, imprisoned its many leaders, halted the liberalizing trends and reaffirmed its commitment to Communism and its close ties to the Soviet Union. 

The clergy of the Roman Catholic church took upon itself the role of a mediator and its doors became a place of solace, compassion and comfort.