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The saga of Solidarity and the mass strikes in Poland continued and escalated, this December 18, 1981. Despite efforts at a crackdown and imposition of martial law, people hit the streets in the thousands to protest heavy-handed tactics of the police and military. Police responded by using rubber clubs and firing teargas into crowds and arrested hundreds of students who chanted “gestapo” and “fascists”.
Even with a tight lid placed on news from Warsaw, reports filtered in of mass beatings and arrested protestors being carted away to internment camps. The State-run News Agency admitted tacitly that the regime had removed seven regional governors for improperly discharging their duties, replacing them with military officers. Also removed were several Factory managers for failing to implement decrees from the military council under the new martial law. So it would appear that resistance from this new military regime wasn’t all coming by way of Solidarity. That in fact, dissent was spreading throughout Poland.
And the war of words extended as far as Moscow, who blamed the U.S. for provoking the unrest in Warsaw. In a rebuke of President Reagan, the official news daily Pravda claimed that Reagan had forgotten that Poland was a member of the Warsaw Pact and not to NATO, and that the White House had lost its perspective when it came to Poland and was interfering in what Moscow claimed was “purely an internal affair”. Radio Moscow went on to say that threatened economic sanctions imposed by Washington will not work, saying its use of economic pressure in the past has failed many times and that Poland was putting its own house in order and outside influences need not apply. And the beat went on.
Meanwhile; late reports of explosions at the party headquarters of Robert Mugabe in Salisbury Zimbabwe said the building was destroyed but offered no further details at the time.
And a wide search was underway in Northern Italy for a kidnapped American Military officer, seized the previous day by members of the Red Brigade. U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. William Dozier was taken at gunpoint by four gunmen who broke into Dozier’s home, bound his wife and stuffed him into the trunk of a waiting car.
In New York, former President Jimmy Carter, speaking at a meeting of the Council On Foreign Relations, sharply criticized the Reagan administration’s Foreign Policy, calling it belligerent and a danger to peace. He also criticized Israel, calling its annexation of the Golan Heights a tragic mistake. At the UN Security Council, the US voted for a resolution declaring the annexation of the Golan Heights null and void and demanded Israel rescind its claim. Israel immediately made it clear that the resolution, which was passed unanimously would be ignored.
That’s a small portion of how this December 18th went in 1981 as reported by CBS Radio Hourly News, including a long forgotten commercial for an ill-named diet product called Ayds. It was a big seller in the early part of the 80s and pretty much vanished by the end of the 80s for obvious reasons.