Poland takes swift, resolute action to squelch dissent
Warsaw — Orders by Poland's ruling body, the Military Council, for stern and swift action against the ''opposition'' and in particular the leaders of the dissident KOR (Workers' Defense Committee) could run into legal snags, it was suggested here Sept. 2.
The orders were issued following Tuesday's widespread rioting on the occasion of Solidarity's second anniversary. Security forces moved in against what seemed to be relatively limited demonstrations of support for the Solidarity union and protest over the continuation of martial law.
Regional authorities have been told to take ''resolute steps'' to ensure public order. The courts are to act promptly in all cases where charges are laid against demonstrators.
More specifically, the council:
* Called on the Polish prosecutor general and the Interior Ministry to speed up investigations and possible indictments against KOR leaders for ''offenses committed against state and society;'' and,
* Ordered prompt consideration and appropriate action - especially by the education authorities - of ''improper activities'' carried out by youth.
When martial law was announced, however, it was decreed also that Poles alleged to have acted contrary to ''state interests'' before that date would not be proceeded against if they abandoned their activities.
The most prominent and active of the KOR's 33 adherent members - such as Jacek Kuron and Adam Michnik, two of Solidarity's most influential political advisers - were immediately interned.
As far as one can check, at least one-third of the members are, in fact, in custody. A number of other members are in the West.
The only member so far identified as reportedly continuing activity since December is Zbigniew Romaszewski a KOR founder and a member of the Warsaw Solidarity region's executive committee. His arrest was announced earlier this week.
He and an associate captured at the same time had worked with the underground groups planning the demonstrations and also with the clandestine Radio Solidarity which was heard from time to time last month.
''KOR,'' said one of its older members today, ''was essentially what its name (Workers' Defense Committee) said - a group seeking to serve workers' interests, no more. Today we are either interned, abroad, or old like myself.''
Meanwhile, the people of Warsaw seem dazed not so much by Tuesday's events around Poland, but by the sheer weight of security forces deployed against them and, still more, by the news that more than 4,000 persons were arrested.
Nowhere in the country does there seem to have been a demonstration with more than a few thousand people actively involved. One exception is the Nowa Huta steelworkers' march in Krakow to in their local church.
But there are reports of indiscriminate police action against random people. Tear gas shells seemed to find targets through open windows rather than at an unruly crowd they were supposed to disperse.
In response to these allegations, the authorities allege the police were often themselves openly attacked. In Lubin, according to an official report, a small group of militia was forced to fire in self-defense against a mob pelting them with gasoline bombs.
It is claimed also that the country's working life proceeded normally and that ''an overwhelming part of the Polish people preferred order and peace'' to demonstrating .
But - from many conversations and observations at large - it seems a passive, indifferent preference rather than any gain in the confidence and credibility Gen. Jaruzelski's government has still to win.