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Walesa to Meet with Authorities About Solidarity

January 26, 1989

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Solidarity founder Lech Walesa will hold preliminary meetings with government officials Thursday about making the independent union legal again, an adviser reported.

In the streets of Warsaw, police detained 15 people at protests Wednesday in support of Czechoslovak dissidents and a Polish peace activist who was given a suspended sentence for resisting military service, an opposition spokeswoman said.

Thursday’s official meetings in Warsaw will be the fourth since August attended by Walesa, who founded Solidarity in 1980 as the Soviet bloc’s first free trade union.

The Rev. Henryk Jankowski of St. Brygida’s, the Roman Catholic church in Gdansk that has become Solidarity’s spiritual home, said Wednesday that Walesa would meet with government officials, but he would not identify them. The Solidarity founder lives in Gdansk and works as a shipyard electrician.

Solidarity leaders agreed on Sunday to negotiate with the government about legalizing the union, which was suppressed and outlawed after the declaration of martial law in December 1981.

Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski’s government offered during strikes last August to meet with the opposition about economic and political reform, but Walesa refused to negotiate without an official decision to legalize Solidarity.

In a reversal of policy last week, the Communist Party Central Committee offered to allow more than one legal trade union and participation by the opposition in government bodies.

Walesa had planned to address an officially approved rally Thursday at Warsaw University and hold a news conference in the capital, but aides said both had been canceled.

Jan Tomasiewicz of Warsaw, a student arrested in mid-December, was the peace activist for whom Wednesday’s protest was held. A court sentenced him Wednesday to two years in prison but suspended it for a three-year probationary period, said Bogumila Tyszkiewicz of the outlawed Polish Socialist Party.

She said about 40 supporters tried to attend the trial but about half were barred from the courtroom and Jozef Pinior, a Solidarity leader in Wroclaw, was detained briefly.

Pinior also was among about 15 people detained after a scuffle outside the Czechoslovak Embassy, where 30 protesters went after the trial to raise banners saying ″Down with Communist dictators″ and collect signatures for political prisoners in Czechoslovakia, Ms. Tyszkiewicz said.

Police used clubs and a chemical spray to subdue protesters and took those arrested to vans, she reported.

Ms. Tyszkiewicz said 10 members of the Polish Socialist Party, Fighting Solidarity and the peace group Freedom and Peace were detained in Katowice, southern Poland.

She said two of them climbed onto a bus shelter in the market square with a banner demanding Jaruzelski’s removal, three threw leaflets from a supermarket roof and five made speeches.

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