PANAMA CITY, JULY 28 -- Opposition leaders today declared a two-day general strike a complete success and began planning their next moves to counter what they called a new wave of repression by the government of military strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.

The general strike shut down economic activity in the Panamanian capital and other cities for a second day today amid a continuing furor over the arrest of a leading Noriega critic, retired colonel Roberto Diaz Herrera, after a military assault on his house in a luxurious residential district yesterday.

A news blackout that was imposed by the military on the opposition through the closure of three newspapers and a radio station continued today. Security forces Sunday night shut down the leading opposition newspaper, La Prensa, and two other papers on the eve of the general strike.

A spokesman for the opposition National Civic Crusade, a grouping of 106 business and professional organizations that called the strike, said leaders decided in a clandestine meeting this afternoon not to extend the work stoppage beyond the previously planned 48 hours. According to National Crusade spokesman Roberto Brines, members of the organization who said they feared arrests yesterday after the attack on Diaz Herrera's house plan to come out of hiding Wednesday for a meeting to decide their next moves.

Brines said a crackdown by Noriega since Sunday meant that Panama "is no longer a quasi-democracy but a full-fledged military dictatorship" and that the opposition would announce stronger measures, including longer strikes, to deal with the new situation and try to force Noriega's ouster.

{A State Department official in Washington said the Reagan administration has adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude for the moment on the developing situation in Panama. The official said the administration sees "no need to get out in front" while an intense national debate and test of strength among Panamanians is taking place.

{State Department spokesman Charles Redman, for the second straight day, called on the government of Panama "to end all interruption or censorship of press reporting immediately." He said the United States regards the curbs on news "indefensible."

{"The United States calls on all Panamanians, and particularly government security officials, to avoid the use of force or violence," Redman said.}

Noriega, the commander of the 15,000-member Panamanian Defense Forces, formerly called the National Guard, is the power behind the government of nominal President Eric A. Delvalle.

Government-controlled newspapers today published photographs of Diaz Herrera at a public prosecutor's office, where he was taken yesterday after troops backed by helicopters stormed his house and captured him and 45 followers. The photographs, showing the former military second-in-command from the waist up, revealed no sign of any injuries.

There were unconfirmed reports yesterday that Diaz Herrera had been wounded while he and his supporters resisted the assault on his home for more than an hour. The former colonel's lawyers said today that he had been beaten during his arrest, but was not wounded by gunfire. The lawyers and Roman Catholic Church leaders maintained, despite military denials, that several persons were hurt in yesterday's battle, but they had no confirmation of any deaths.

Lawyers and church officials said they still had not been permitted to see Diaz Herrera or any of his relatives and supporters arrested with him yesterday.

Diaz Herrera, who was forced to resign as chief of staff of the armed forces June 1, triggered a wave of public protests when he began accusing Noriega of involvement in massive corruption, election fraud and the murder of a prominent political opponent, among other charges.

Diaz Herrera has been described by the government as being mentally unstable, and diplomatic sources who are not partial to either side agree. Diaz Herrera's statements against Noriega have appeared to mix fanciful falsehoods with charges that many Panamanians have long considered to be true, but the fact that the allegations were being aired by someone from Noriega's inner military circle has charged Panama's political atmosphere and fueled the protests.

In an apparent effort to discredit Diaz Herrera, an avowed mystic, government-controlled newspapers today printed photographs allegedly from his house showing an altar adorned with pictures of the former colonel's bushy-haired Indian guru, Sahid Baba, a picture of Jesus and a Bible.

A military spokesman said that a search of Diaz Herrera's home had produced no proof of his allegations against Noriega and that the colonel failed to present any such evidence during his appearance at the prosecutor's office. Diaz Herrera has failed to appear at the prosecutor's office when summoned on previous occasions, but once showed up there unannounced and was asked to go home.

Government-controlled media said Diaz Herrera faces 10 to 15 years in jail if convicted on charges of endangering state security and keeping an arsenal of weapons.

A decree published today accused the three opposition newspapers of violating a law against inciting "rebellion, sedition or rioting" and said they would remain closed while an investigation was being carried out by the attorney general's office.

{The American Society of Newspaper Editors yesterday sent a telegram to Noriega strongly protesting the newspaper closings. "We urge you to swiftly rescind the closure order so the people of Panama can have access to the news of the day," Christian Science Monitor editor Katherine Fanning, president of the organization, said in the telegram. "Closing down a newspaper is the worst form of censorship and a disservice to the people of Panama."}

Aris de Icaza, the president of a leading independent radio station, Radio Exitosa, said authorities put him off the air by cutting power to his transmitter at 3 a.m. yesterday.