(Associated Press) Poland’s former President Lech Walesa said Wednesday that members of Solidarity, the trade union he once led, deserve to be beaten for a disruptive protest they staged last week in Warsaw.

The comments by the outspoken Walesa underline the deep split that has occurred between him and the labor movement he led in the 1980s, one prompted by ideological and personal differences. In the 1980s Solidarity was the key dissident group that eventually helped topple communist rule, but has since evolved into a traditional labor union that supports a strong welfare state.

Last week Solidarity led a picket for days in front of parliament to protest a law raising the retirement age. After lawmakers passed the bill Friday, enraged Solidarity activists prevented some lawmakers from leaving the building for some time and a scuffle ensued.

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