RIGA, U.S.S.R., JAN. 28 -- Hundreds of pro-Kremlin Latvian policemen jeered the Baltic republic's president here today, reflecting the deep division in local law-enforcement ranks over the issue of independence from the Soviet Union.
In neighboring Lithuania, Soviet internal security troops reportedly shut down two of the republic's customs posts and beat several customs officers Sunday night, and about 1,000 television workers rallied today to demand the return of jobs they lost Jan. 13 when Soviet army paratroops stormed the republic's TV station, leaving 13 civilians dead.
The incidents were the latest in a series of confrontations between Soviet officials and their supporters and leaders of the three Baltic republics, which began moving last spring to secede from the Soviet Union. Except for temporary imposition of an economic embargo against Lithuania, tensions between the Kremlin and the democratically elected Baltic governments had largely subsided until the broadcast center takeover in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, and a Soviet police attack on the Latvian Interior Ministry a week later in which four persons died, including two Latvian policemen.
Between 500 and 800 Latvian police officers -- mostly ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians -- jammed an auditorium at the University of Latvia here today for a four-hour meeting with the republic's leaders, including their boss, Latvian Interior Minister Alois Vaznis, as well as President Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis.
The officers whistled and hooted when Vaznis said he had tried to depoliticize the police force, which is part of the Interior Ministry, and they called for his resignation.
The raucous meeting reflected a sharp split between police supporting Latvia's separatist government and those loyal to the central Soviet government in Moscow and the antiindependence branch of the Communist Party in Riga, the Latvian capital. That split was aggravated Jan. 20 when Soviet internal security troopsseized the Latvian Interior Ministry in a furious 40-minute gun battle.
Among grievances raised by the police today were understaffing, low pay, lack of housing and a recent law requiring officers to learn the Latvian language. They also voiced anger over an order by Vaznis prohibiting police from engaging in Communist Party activity during working hours.
On Friday, a similar gathering of about 500 Latvian police officers took a unanimous vote of no-confidence in Vaznis, who has supported the independence forces and allowed volunteers to build barricades in the streets of Riga to defend against possible Soviet troop assaults.
On Sunday night, Soviet internal security forces firing shots seized two Lithuanian customs posts near the Soviet Byelorussian border and ordered them shut permanently, a government spokesman said. Spokesman Audrius Azubalis said the troops assaulted the customs posts in Medininkai and Lavariskes -- villages 28 miles south of Vilnius -- confiscated documents, broke windows and beat several customs officers.
Lithuanian authorities have created about 30 customs checkpoints along the republic's borders to prevent non-Lithuanians from taking scarce goods to other Soviet republics.
At today's rally of Lithuanian television workers in Vilnius, speakers said that virtually no one has stayed on to work at the occupied broadcast facility, which is still surrounded by Soviet troops and tanks. The Soviets, they said, had brought in workers from other republics.
Speakers also appealed to workers at state-controlled central television in Moscow not to report Kremlin versions of the Soviet crackdown in the Baltics. Moscow officials, including President Mikhail Gorbachev and members of his cabinet, have blamed the recent violence in the Baltics largely on the republics' nationalist governments.
Lithuania's parliament also denounced as "a crude human-rights violation" new Kremlin decrees ordering joint military-police patrols in all major Soviet cities and giving the KGB sweeping search-and-seizure powers at businesses where economic sabotage is suspected.
The Reuter news agency reported the following from Vilnius:
An unidentified aircraft dropped a live bomb near a Lithuanian village Monday, damaging farm equipment but causing no casualties, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry said.
A spokesman said it was not clear why the bomb was dropped near the village of Shalchininkai, 30 miles from the capital, Vilnius. But the incident did not appear to be related to the current Soviet crackdown on Baltic separatism. Heavy concentrations of Soviet forces are stationed in Lithuania, and accidents often occur during exercises, authorities said.
The official Tass news agency, citing eyewitnesses, said the bomb blast destroyed a water pipe and some farm machinery and shook the village, leaving a crater 15 feet deep and 60 feet in diameter.