Polish protesters foil transfer of cross for late president

09:27, August 04, 2010      

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Protesters on Tuesday foiled the attempt to move a cross commemorating the April 10 Smolensk plane crash which killed former president Lech Kaczynski from its current location in front of Warsaw's Presidential Palace to the nearby St. Anna Church.

Tear gas reportedly was used against the protesters, who tried to knock down barriers set up by police in central Warsaw.

The cross, erected on April 15 by scouts, was originally intended as a marker for a future memorial to the Smolensk victims. Over the following days, a large group of "defenders" gathered around the cross, insisting they would not allow its movement until the government formally pledged the erection of a memorial on the site.

In light of the protests, which included scuffles and insults, President-elect Bronislaw Komorowski's staff head Jacek Michalowski announced that the cross will not be moved at present.

"I think the situation is sufficiently serious for us not to want to expose scouts and clergymen to what might happen here. Aggression levels are too high. Therefore, though I regret to say it, the cross will not be moved to St. Anna's," Michalowski was quoted as saying by the PAP news agency.

Asked about the cross's future fate, Michalowski said he had no power of decision in the matter.

Scout spokesman Jacek Bednarczyk said no fresh date for moving the cross had been set.

Earlier, church spokesmen said they hoped for an "optimistic variant" regarding the cross' relocation.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:秦唯(实习))

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