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23september20102Wroclaw: His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Wroclaw, Lower Silesia, south-west Poland, yesterday (September 22) and gave a speech praising the country's 1980s Solidarity movement, as it marks its 30th anniversary.

His Holiness first toured an exhibition being held to mark the anniversary, then told a crowd of 6,000, "I think in terms of global change in this part of the world, Solidarity definitely made change, including the Soviet Union - it really made an important impact."

The Polish trade-union movement - the first such free movement in the Eastern Bloc - is widely regarded as being instrumental in ending communism in Eastern Europe.

Rafal Dutkiewicz, the mayor of Wroclaw, presented His Holiness with Solidarity and Tibetan flags, while union members decorated him with a 'Solidarity For Ever' medal.

Comparing the struggle of Tibetans to win freedom in their own country with the struggle the Polish people faced to gain release from Moscow in 1989, His Holiness said, "It is human nature that from childhood we want freedom. God creates all human beings with the same nature - so the desire for freedom.

"So the suppression of freedom with certain ideology is only temporary. You cannot suppress a basic human desire."

However, His Holiness did stress that his aim is not to gain independence for Tibeta from communist China.

This is His Holiness' fifth visit to Poland and his second to Wroclaw, having previously been awarded honorary citizenship of the city in December 2008.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com