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Five arrested after Polish national leader's tomb in Vilnius vandalised

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 29.11.2012 08:50
Five people have been arrested after a tomb containing the heart of Polish national hero Jozef Pilsudski was vandalised in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on Saturday.

photo - wikicommons

Lithuanian police say the youngest detained is 19 years-old and the oldest 27 and are all members of a “radical organisation”.

Police add that “documents and other items” were seized as part of the investigation into the incident at the weekend when a banner was draped over the tomb which contains the remains of Jozef Pilsudski's mother and the Polish national hero's heart, saying “Poles die.”

The banner also threatened Waldemar Tomaszewski, leader of Polish minority political party, Electoral Action of Poles (LLRA), which secured eight seats parliament in recent elections in the Baltic state.

In June red paint was daubed across the tomb in honour of one of the founders of Polish independence in 1918.

Also found by the tomb on Saturday was a box with “attention bomb” and “TNT” written on it.

The Polish ambassador in Vilnius, Janusz Skolimowski said he has received assurances that security will be stepped up at the Rossa Cemetery.

Pilsudski was born in Zułów near Vilnius, then part of the Russian empire, in 1887. and while his body is buried in Krakow, southern Poland, his heart should remain in Vilnius, he said before he died in 1935.

Though seen as a hero in Poland, many in the Baltic state see him as an anti-Lithuanian figure after Poland orcefully annexed Vilnius from Soviet-occupied Lithuania in 1922 following the defeat of the Red Army in the battle of Warsaw.

Vilnius was seized again by the Soviets after the invasion of Poland in 1939. (pg)

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