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Walesa Accuses Government of Reneging on Promise

May 24, 1989

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Students voted Wednesday to end a university sit-in against government refusal to legalize their independent union, and said they would concentrate on electing the Solidarity parliament slate June 4.

They said a Warsaw court’s rejection Tuesday of the application to register the Independent Students Association, known as NZS, was a futile attempt to divide students from Solidarity just the before the elections.

Solidarity leader Lech Walesa said Poland’s communist authorities broke a pledge by not making NZS legal. The court ruling was pronounced the same day an episode of Solidarity’s weekly television program was canceled.

″The rejection of the registration of NZS breaks the round table decisions,″ he said in a statement released by the Solidarity Citizens Committee. ″It causes justified anxiety of NZS activists.″

Walesa’s independent union and NZS were recognized after their formation in 1980 but outlawed in 1982 under martial law.

The ″round table″ accords the government and opposition signed April 5 provided for them to be made legal again, but a question arose about the NZS charter. The agreements also promised Solidarity access to television.

At a news conference Wednesday, Solidarity spokesmen said their surveys indicate the union’s candidates will do well.

″According to our preliminary studies concerning Warsaw our candidates have sufficient advantage to win the elections,″ said Jan Litynski of Warsaw. ″The nervousness of the propaganda apparatus stems from this.″

He said the Solidarity candidate in central Warsaw had a 7-1 edge on Jerzy Urban, the former government spokesman running as an independent.

A freely elected Senate is being added to the unicameral parliament, called the Sejm, and 35 percent of the Sejm seats are being contested. The other 65 percent are reserved for the Communists and their allies.

Janusz Onyszkiewicz, national Solidarity spokesman, counseled ″moderation and reason″ before the elections.

″The students’ strong reaction is psychologically understandable,″ he said. ″We think students will find effective means of action that will assure legalization of NZS and also take into account the general political consequences of their actions.″

About 300 students took part in a noon rally at Warsaw University and said they would end the sit-in Thursday.

They began the protest Tuesday and were joined by students in other cities. Whether those sit-ins also would end was not clear.

Warm applause greeted Walesa’s statement when it was read at the campus rally.

Walesa was in Gdansk, where he is an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard and led the strike in which Solidarity was born. During a campaign rally at the shipyard, which the government has ordered closed, he and Solidarity candidates said the union was committed to saving it.

One of the chants workers directed at the government was: ″Lenin is yours, but the shipyard is ours 3/8″ It is scheduled to close at the end of 1990.

Slawek Gorecki, an NZS spokesman, said the court decision was a government attempt to divide students from Solidarity, but they would continue to support the Solidarity election campaign.

″This provocation has failed and has even consolidated″ NZS and Solidarity, he said. ″Though there were differences between us, this ... will help clear them up.″

Many students believe Solidarity did not press hard enough for the legalization of their union.

Zbigniew Bujak, Solidarity leader for the Warsaw region, told the students the court decision ″was done to divide us″ before the election, ″to cause trouble just when we have the chance for the biggest victory in postwar Poland.″

The government press office said it had no immediate response to charges that the April agreements had been violated, and referred inquiries to state television authorities and the court. Spokesmen at both institutions said no one was available to comment.

Just before the Solidarity program was scheduled to be broadcast Tuesday, an announcer read a statemtnt saying authorities had canceled it ″because the contents ... aim against the round-table agreements.″

The 45-minute broadcast was to have been the third weekly program produced by Solidarity. It consisted of a discussion of human rights by Solidarity candidates for Parliament who are lawyers.

Onyszkiewicz, the national Solidarity spokesman, said the government apparently objected to references in the discussion to abuses by riot police and other security forces.

He suggested Solidarity shows be submitted to regular censors, who have rules about what should be cut, rather than being canceled entirely if the authorities are displeased.


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