I have scanned some old photographs of demonstrations in Warsaw shortly after I came here. They are from around 1997 to 1998. Most are after the election of the right-wing coalition government of Solidarity Electoral Alliance and Freedom Union (AWS-UW). This government incorporated the different currents from the right, including those that now make up Citizens' Platform (PO) and the Law and Justice Party (PiS). Introducing the so-called 'second Balcerowicz plan' and its 'four reforms', it was probably the most disasterous government of the past twenty years, as economic growth slumped and unemployment doubled to nearly 20%.
At this time the major opposition came from the left.Alongside the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) was the trade union confederation the OPZZ, which organised a number of protests against the government. Also at that time the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) had a few MPs in parliament as part of the SLD's electoral bloc, providing a left alternative inside and outside of parliament. Also peasants' movement Self-Defence (Samoobrona) was growing, as those in the countryside were particularly negatively affected by the governments reforms.
OPZZ demonstration against the government 1998:
PPS and OPZZ:
Campaign against Education Fees ( 1997 or 1998) led by the PPS youth:
PPS Conference 1998:
May 1st 1997:
(The banner reads - good luck Tony Blair (sic) - it was the day he got elected)
Slogans on Demos
(Enough Anti-worker Policies of AWS - UW)
(Krzaklewski (then PM), Balcerowicz - Gravediggers of the nation)
(May Day 1997)