Former Polish President Lech Walesa hospitalised

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Lech Walesa, the anti-communist dissident who founded Solidarity in Poland, has been hospitalised in his hometown of Gdansk, officials said on Thursday.

The former Polish president was taken to the hospital at about noon on Wednesday, his office said. The reason for the unplanned visit was not given, but TVN24 television said Walesa was running a high fever.

Photographs of the 67-year-old Walesa, taken last night and posted on his blog, showed him standing in the hospital with nurses and doctors, or lying in bed and shaking the hand of a doctor.

In 2008, US surgeons fitted Walesa with a pacemaker in the hope of sparing him a heart transplant operation.

Solidarity was a national freedom movement under Walesa’s leadership in the 1980s that helped bring down communism in Poland. His courage in defying communist authorities at the time earned him a Nobel peace prize.

From 1990 to 1995, he served as Poland’s first popularly elected president in the post-communist era.

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