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Poles protest burial plans

Poles protest burial plans
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Outside the presidential palace, the streets of the Polish capital are lined with mourners queuing to pay their last respects to their first couple.

The late president Lech Kacznyski, and his wife Maria, will be buried on Sunday at a ceremony attended by world leaders.

They were among 96 Polish dignitaries who died last Saturday when their plane crashed near Smolensk in western Russia.

Plans to bury the presidential couple at Wawel cathedral in Krakow have divided the nation and sparked furious protests.

In a front page editorial, Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza said the decision was hasty and emotional.

A nationalist and eurosceptic, the late president’s popularity had slumped in the months before his death.

Some opponents say Kaczynski has no right to be buried alongside the country’s legendary kings and heroes at the historically significant site. Others want the funeral to be held in Warsaw.

“If President Kaczynski had died of natural causes he would never have been buried in Wawel,” said Jerzy Meysztowicz, an entrepreneur and politician from the centrist Civic Platform party.

As the row rumbles on, plans to set a date for the forthcoming presidential election have been delayed until next week.

Meanwhile the bodies of the crash victims are continuing to be repatriated. The remains of Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last Polish president in-exile, arrived home his morning.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.