Despite signs of a release next week of many of the people interned under martial law, Poland's Communist Party newspaper today rejected as "blackmail" an offer by the Solidarity underground union to trade an easing of martial law for a moratorium on protests.
"There is not, and there cannot be, any agreement with the enemies of socialism, whose battle cry is, 'The worse the better,' " said Trybuna Ludu, the official newspaper of the Communist Party.
The newspaper's attack seems aimed at proving that the military government would not bow to pressure from the opposition, operating clandestinely since martial law was declared Dec. 13. The underground, in a recent communique, appealed to Poles to observe a moratorium on protests, but at the same time warned the authorities that unless two key demands--the release of the prisoners and amnesty for martial-law violators--were met, protests, even a general strike, would be the consequence.
The denunciation came as martial-law authorities continued to release as many as a dozen political prisoners a day, according to church and relief groups monitoring the movement from the camps. Assistance agencies operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church first noticed an acceleration in the number of releases two weeks ago, according to several volunteers supervising aid to the prisoners. The increase was unannounced, and initially went unnoticed because there has been a trickle of releases ever since the first months of martial law, he said.
Church leaders and diplomats in the capital have gleaned indications from government contacts of a gesture of good will by the military leadership around the time of Poland's July 22 national day.
The martial-law chief, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, is to address a special session of Poland's National Assembly on July 21, and government, diplomatic and church sources are speculating that he will use the forum to announce a release of a large number of the 2,000 to 3,000 prisoners still in 40 camps throughout Poland.
"There will be a gesture," said a government source, "but less dramatic than what people are hoping for."
Western diplomats, watching the releases of the last week for indications of a change in policy toward Solidarity activists, say they are skeptical that this movement represents a trend.
As the national day approaches, there are reports that the government is contemplating a face lift of martial law by changing its official title to "state of emergency" or a similarly softened phrase.
The 200-member Central Committee, meeting today, offered no clues. It stuck to the set agenda on youth, although in the second day of the session it will discuss national day observances.