Polish authorities say they are pressing ahead with the prosecution of three generals and five colonels in the 1970 shootings of striking workers along the Baltic Coast that left at least 45 people dead.

President-elect Lech Walesa, a then-unknown electrician at Gdansk's Lenin Shipyard, was among the leaders of the 1970 strike over food price increases that resulted in the bloody crackdown by security forces.Those protests helped pave the way for the birth of the Solidarity free trade union movement a decade later.

Justice Minister Aleksander Bentkowski did not name the officers under investigation but said the initial order to shoot the workers was given by the late Wladyslaw Gomulka, then Communist Party leader.

A final decision on whether to put the eight officers on trial will be made by March, Bentkowski said.

"At present we have enough evidence to present charges against eight persons - three generals and five colonels who were directly involved in the events," Bentkowski told state television Monday night.

"I think that revealing their names is not proper now as the investigation is under way."