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A nation in mourning

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A nation in mourning


In the Polish capital Warsaw flags fly at half mast and the Presidential Palace is surrounded by a carpet of flowers and candles as the public express their grief.

Among people returning to work on Monday morning, there was a tangible sense of disbelief at the events which unfolded this weekend.

“You see what happened right now, the people are sad, nobody is happy, we just walk to our jobs and do what we have to do and we will see what happens but it is a really big tragedy for us,” said Tomek Swentoiskie.

Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and nearly a hundred others from the country’s military and political elite were killed in a plane crash on Saturday morning.

They were on their way to a war memorial service in Russia, to commemorate the massacre of Polish military officers by Russian secret police during World War Two.

The plane came down in heavy fog near Smolensk airport in western Russia,

The cause of the crash is believed to have been caused by pilot error.

President Kaczynski’s coffin arrived home on Sunday. A state funeral is due to be held for him on Saturday. His wife will be buried with him.

Meanwhile Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared Monday a day of mourning.

Acting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has said he will set a date for a presidential election within the next fourteen days, in line with the constitution which states that the vote must take place before the end of June.

Kaczynski and his twin brother Jaroslaw, a former Prime Minister, were vocal opponents of Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s pro-market reform government and its attempts to bring Poland into the eurozone.

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