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Vilnius promises surveillance after Pilsudski tomb profanation

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 25.11.2012 16:18
Authorities in Vilnius have pledged to introduce surveillance after a tomb with the heart of Polish independence hero Marshal Jozef Pilsudski was profaned in the Lithuanian capital.

The Pilsudski tomb, Rossa Cemetery: photo - wikipedia

“Polish ambassador Janusz Skolimowski has received a promise from the authorities in Vilnius concerning the introduction of surveillance at the Rossa Cemetery,” confirmed Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“Talks between the embassy and Vilnius authorities on technical matters concerning the surveillance will he held over the coming days,” he added.

On Saturday, unknown persons draped a banner over the tomb (which contains the remains of Jozef Pilsudski's mother and the marshal's heart). The banner threatened Waldemar Tomaszewski, leader of Polish minority political party The Electoral Action of Poles (LLRA).

LLRA won seats in the Lithuanian parliament for the first time in this autumn's elections (eight seats in all).

“Tomaszewski, if you do not stop harming Lithuania, you will end up here,” ran the wording on the banner covering the tomb.

A cardboard box next to the tomb carried the words “Attention bomb” and “Poles die.”

It is the second incident at the site this year, following an incident in June when it the tomb was splashed with red paint.

The Polish minority in Lithuania had been at odds with the outgoing government. Problems included reforms that weakened the autonomy of Polish minority schools, as well as disagreements about whether Poles should be entitled to use Polish spelling in official documents. Similarly, Poles claimed that there was bias against them in reclaiming property seized by the communists in the wake of the Second World War.

Jozef Pilsudski (1867-1935), the so-called “father of Polish independence” was born in lands that now belong to Lithuania.

In the wake of the First World War, the newly reborn Poland seized Vilnius – which at that time was numerically dominated by ethnic Poles – in October 1920.

Lithuania, which had itself re-emerged as a state, broke off diplomatic relations with Poland, only to re-establish them under pressure in 1938. (nh)

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