Smolensk remembrances without reports of violence
PR dla Zagranicy
A "March of Remembrance” in Warsaw commemorating the victims of the 2010 Smolensk crash went ahead without outbreaks of violence despite concerns that last month's protests could be repeated.
Jarosław Kaczyński speaks at the March of Remebrance. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara.
Monday marked 87 months since the Polish plane carrying President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 others – including top political and military figures – crashed at the Smolensk airport in western Russia.
Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party and twin brother of the late president, said the monthly marches would continue until a monument to Smolensk disaster victims is erected in Warsaw.
An anti-government protest, which included several former anti-communist activists and a number of opposition politicians, was held nearby but did not clash with the marchers.
There were shouts from the crowd, but no reports of violence.
However, police did detain two protesters, who were later released, and wants to punish 44 over disturbances.
Last month, anti-government protesters sat along the width of Warsaw's Krakowskie Przedmieście street, blocking the March of Remembrance's route. Some of the protesters were forcibly moved by police.
PiS has long challenged an official report into the crash issued by the previous Polish government which cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk Military Airport.
A Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.
PiS has launched its own inquiry into the crash which, in initial findings, suggested the plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion, and that Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misled Polish pilots about their location as the presidential plane approached the runway of the Smolensk military airport in 2010. (vb/pk)