02/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 17:02

Poland holds tribute for dead President Lech Kaczynski

Category: Headlines

Published: 11th Apr 2010 11:22:04

Carpet of candles outside the presidential palace in Warsaw

Poland has held a two-minute tribute, with church bells and police sirens, to honour President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others killed in a jet crash in Russia.

Thousands of Poles have been attending church services and leaving flowers and written condolences across the country.

The president, military chiefs and MPs were due to attend a memorial for a World War II massacre when their plane crashed near Smolensk on Saturday.

Russian officials say the pilots were warned that they were flying too low.

Mr Kaczynski's body is due arrive in Warsaw later, as the country begins a week's mourning.

The president's twin brother Jaroslaw, the country's former prime minister, travelled to Russia to help identify his body.

The brothers' strong nationalist, conservative agenda divided opinion in Poland, but the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says the president's supporters and opponents have joined together in paying tribute to him.

Boguslaw Staron, a 70-year-old from Warsaw, described Mr Kaczynski as "a great patriot".

"He taught Poles how to respect our traditions, how to fight for our dignity, and he made his sacrifice there at that tragic place," he said.

Poles gathered in town squares and in the streets at midday (1000 GMT) and stood silently to mark the tragedy, as church bells rang and emergency sirens wailed around them.

The president had been flying to Russia along with his wife, the heads of the army and navy, MPs and senior historians to mark 70 years since Soviet forces massacred more than 20,000 Poles near Katyn.

No-one survived the crash.

Russia has declared Monday a day of mourning and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who visited the crash site with Polish counterpart Donald Tusk, said he would oversee the inquiry.

Russian and Polish investigators have recovered the flight-data recorders and are carrying out a joint inquiry.

They are looking into the possibility that pilots ignored warnings that they were approaching Smolensk too low.

Experts have also suggested that the age and condition of the Polish president's Soviet-era Tupolev 154 plane could have played a part in the accident.

Witnesses have described seeing the plane's wing hitting treetops in thick fog before it came down in a forest.

Mr Kaczynski was a controversial figure in Polish politics.

He was active in the Solidarity movement that helped bring an end to Communist rule, but later fell out with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

He advocated traditional Catholic values, opposed rapid free-market reforms and favoured retaining social welfare programmes.

As president, he held fewer powers than the prime minister but retained a significant say in foreign policy. He could veto new laws and frequently blocked government reforms.

Have you been paying tribute to Lech Kaczynski? Have you attended a memorial service or signed a book of condolence?

We'd like to publish a selection of your comments with pictures, you can send your comments using the form below.

Send your pictures to yourpics@bbc.co.uk, text them to +44 7725 100 100 or you have a large file you can upload here.

Read the terms and conditions

Name Your e-mail address Town & Country Phone number Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide. Terms & Conditions

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. Poland holds tribute for dead President Lech Kaczynski [Online] (Updated 11th Apr 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/50954/Poland-holds-tribute-for-dead-President-Lech-Kaczynski [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Julian Philip Kelsal named as Dorothea Quarry death diver

    A diver who died following an incident at a disused Gwynedd quarry has been named.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Plea over woman and three children missing in Glasgow

    Police have appealed for help in tracing a woman and three children from the Pollok area of Glasgow who have been missing for the past week.
  • Rotherham child abuse scandal: New victims come forward

    Twelve new victims have made allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham since a report found at least 1,400 children were abused, police say.
  • Education 'zone' proposed for Shankill area of Belfast

    A 20-year plan has been proposed to improve education in the area with the worst attainment record in Belfast.
  • Cliff Richard house search: MPs quiz police chief

    South Yorkshire Chief Constable David Crompton is appearing before a MPs to answer questions about a search of Sir Cliff Richard's house.