WARSAW — Polish authorities ordered a seven-man Solidarity council led by the labor union's founder, Lech Walesa, to disband today, saying its operation is illegal and disruptive to peace.
Walesa formed the council in the seaport city of Gdansk on Sept. 29 after 225 Solidarity leaders were freed from jails under a sweeping government amnesty program.
"I ban the foundation and operation of the association called a Solidarity Temporary Council," said a statement by the director of the government's local administrative council in Gdansk.
"The decision has to be implemented immediately," the director said.
The text of the statement said the operation of the council can "endanger peace and public order in the country."
Walesa said he formed the new Solidarity group to steer the underground activities of his outlawed union in the open, and he maintained the council is legal and does not need the approval of the government.
"We are not a new organization nor an association," Walesa said today in a telephone interview from his apartment in the seaport of Gdansk, where Solidarity was born in 1980.
"We shall not act emotionally and we shall adopt a new decision," said Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
He hinted that the council members--Bogdan Borusewicz, Bogdan Lis, Wladyslaw Frasyniuk, Tadeusz Jedynak, Janusz Palubicki and Zbigniew Bujak--may hold a strategy meeting in Gdansk soon.
Solidarity was suspended when martial law was declared in 1981 and banned a year later. It remained outlawed when martial law was lifted in 1983. Today's ban coincided with a statement by the Solidarity region in the western textile center of Lodz in western Poland, which said it has started "as of today" to operate in the open.
The regions of Silesia in southwestern Poland, of Lublin in the southeastern part of the country and in Warsaw earlier said they would operate in the open and five other regions vowed to follow suit.
The government freed the 225 prisoners, including members of the council, under the amnesty it said was intended to help bring reconciliation in Poland. Authorities, however, warned that those freed could be imprisoned again if they resumed their political activities.