Tens of thousands of Poles chanting "Solidarity, Solidarity" gave British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher a tumultuous welcome Friday.
The crowd chanted, sang and applauded as Thatcher and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa laid a wreath of red and white roses at a memorial to 28 strikers shot dead by the Polish army in food riots in 1970.Workers on a roof inside the nearby Lenin shipyard - the birthplace of Solidarity during strikes in 1980 - waved, clapped and shouted "bravo" when Thatcher climbed on a bench to let the throng get a look at her.
"There's masses of people," Thatcher said in surprise. Security guards had to wrestle a path through reporters and photographers to enable her and Walesa to shake hands with the crowd.
"No freedom without Solidarity," they chanted. "Out with Rakowski" - a reference to Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Rakowski, who has ordered the shutdown of the Lenin shipyard. Then they broke into Poland's national anthem which begins: "Jeszcze Polska nie zginela poki my zyjemy" (Poland has not yet perished while we still live."
Thatcher and Walesa climbed onto the running boards of their limousine, and Walesa flashed V-victory signs at the crowd as they drove off.
Thatcher thanked the crowd for its reception: "I had to come here and see for myself the spirit of the Polish people."
After their meeting, Walesa said, "I am very satisfied. We discussed all the problems that the prime minister wanted to hear about and we wanted to raise."
Earlier, Thatcher joined Communist Party leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski in laying a wreath at Westerplatte, in the Bay of Gdansk where the first shots of World War II were fired.