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Soviet Ambassador Meets Party Officials About Krakow Protests

May 20, 1989

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The Soviet ambassador has met with local Communist Party leaders in Krakow to express his country’s concern over anti-Soviet protests there earlier this week, official newspapers reported today.

Jozef Gajewicz, first secretary of the provincial party branch, and Krakow mayor Tadeusz Salwa voiced regret over the protests that occurred on three succesive days, the Warsaw daily newspaper Zycie Warszawy said.

Protests supported by the banned pacifist group Freedom and Peace resulted in 45 detentions on Tuesday.

At least 10 poeple were injured Wednesday, and young people protesting police intervention during those demonstrations clashed with police on Thursday. About 300 people took part in each of the demonstrations.

The mostly youthful crowds shouted ″Soviets go home″ and attempted to march to the Soviet Consulate.

The Soviet ambassador, Vladimir Brovikov, met Gajewicz and Salwa on Friday, the newspaper said.

University and college rectors also met Friday, and the Krakow academic community has disassociated itself from the protests, the newspaper said.

Shouting ″Soviets go home″ is a recent development in street protests in Poland. The slogan is popular mainly among young people, although a feeling that Soviet troops should withdraw has existed in the country for many years.

In a statement on Friday, Freedom and Peace said its movement has always taken action advocating peace in Europe. ″United Europe is Europe without foriegn troops,″ the statement said.

″We believe it is in the interest of peace on our continent for the Soviet army to withdraw from the whole East bloc including Polish territory. We want dialogue with the Russian nation, but not under pressure of stationed Soviet troops,″ the statement said.

According to the Institute for International and Strategic Studies in London, there are about 40,000 Soviet troops stationed in Poland.

Earlier this week, the official news agency PAP said a tank regiment and a motorized unit would soon be withdrawn from Poland. The institute says a tank regiment usually includes 1,300 troops and a motorized unit about 2,300.

Late last year, in a speech at the United Nations in New York, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev said his country would reduce its armed forces by 500,000 trooops over two years, including a reduction of 240,000 in Europe.

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