Europe

Poland to strip late leader Jaruzelski of general's rank

  • A government opponent burns an effigy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party before the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, the 35th anniversary of the imposition of martial law clampdown. The man protests the ruling party's policy saying it does not protect families in trouble. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    A government opponent burns an effigy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party before the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, the 35th anniversary of the imposition of martial law clampdown. The man protests the ruling party's policy saying it does not protect families in trouble. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • An effigy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party is burning before the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, the 35th anniversary of the imposition of martial law clampdown. A government opponent protests the ruling party's policy saying it does not protect families in trouble. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    An effigy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party is burning before the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, the 35th anniversary of the imposition of martial law clampdown. A government opponent protests the ruling party's policy saying it does not protect families in trouble. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • A government opponent burns an effigy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party before the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, the 35th anniversary of the imposition of martial law clampdown. The man protests the ruling party's policy saying it does not protect families in trouble. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    A government opponent burns an effigy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice party before the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, the 35th anniversary of the imposition of martial law clampdown. The man protests the ruling party's policy saying it does not protect families in trouble. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

Poland's defense minister says the government is taking steps to strip the late communist-era leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski of his top military rank.

Antoni Macierewicz spoke Tuesday on the 35th anniversary of martial law, a military clampdown that Jaruzelski imposed against the nationwide Solidarity freedom movement. Thousands of Solidarity activists were put under arrest then and nine protesting miners were killed in clashes with the security forces.

Macierewicz called Jaruzelski a "criminal" who acted against his own nation and did not merit the rank of a general.

One of the ruling conservative party's priorities is to condemn the top figures in the communist era and during the martial law.

Marches are to be held Tuesday in Warsaw to mark democracy's prevailing over martial law and communist rule.