National Geographic : 1972 Apr
Half a million strong, festive Poles parade through Warsaw on May Day, a holiday honoring the country's laboring class. Factory and shop workers arrive singly or in organized groups to partici pate in the annual event. In previous years, their route through the city was lined with posters of former Communist Party chief Gomulka. But in 1971 the well-dressed throng (left, lower) followed new party leader Gie rek through the streets, past posters on the "Eastern Wall" (upper left) featur ing slogans and symbols celebrating Po land's technological and industrial progress. An impressive row of modern office buildings, stores, and apartment houses, the Eastern Wall extends along a main Warsaw thoroughfare. Across the avenue, Gierek (above) addresses the multitude from a rostrum in front of the Palace of Culture and Science, the tallest building in Warsaw.