A new plaque on the wall of Poland’s presidential palace in memory of the late leader Lech Kaczynski has done little to appease some of his supporters.
“Shame”, they shouted from outside the gates where they rallied round the wooden cross that has become an unofficial shrine to their hero.
“They put up their little plaque, but nobody really knows who paid for it, whose initiative it was,” said one Kaczynski supporter. “It should have been placed in a more formal way and the President should have attended, since it was because of Kaczynski’s death that Komorowski is president today.”
A senior member of the Catholic Church has called for the removal of the cross, which was was put up after the plane crash that killed Kaczynski and 95 others in April.
“The Church does not take sides in this controversy,” said the Archbishop of Warsaw, Kazimierz Nycz. “We care very much that the cross of Christ is not manipulated. We don’t want the cross to become a hostage of extra-religious purposes; but neither do we want it to be humiliated during any counter-demonstrations.”
Critics say the cross has become a rallying point for radical nationalistic opponents of the new president. But the plaque has also aroused anger: many families of the plane crash victims say they were neither told about it nor invited to the ceremony.