Poland to purge communism from street names

WARSAW (AFP) - Poland's conservative President Andrzej Duda on Friday (May 20) signed a law banning all references to communism or any other totalitarian regime in street names, bridges or squares.

Local authorities will have 12 months to change any names linked to individuals, organisations, events or dates reflecting such political ideologies.

"The ban on propagating communism or any other totalitarian system through names of buildings or other public utility works" could affect between 1,200 and 1,400 sites across Poland, according to the decree.

The law specifies that any mention of the regime in place in Poland between 1944 and 1989, when the country was part of the Soviet bloc, would be a no-no.

The governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in November after eight years in opposition, is stridently anti-communist.

The movement emerged out of the freedom-fighting Solidarity trade union that negotiated a peaceful end to communism in Poland in 1989.