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Europe

Ordinary Poles and web users express shock at president's death

Text by Maria Camila Perez

Latest update : 2010-04-11

The news of the plane crash that resulted in the deaths of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and several top Polish officials has been received with a mixture of shock and sadness in Poland.

News of the Polish presidential plane crashing in Russia reportedly killing President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and several top Polish officials was received with a mixture of shock and sadness in Poland Saturday morning. 

“It’s a national tragedy”, John Beauchamp, a Polish journalist in Warsaw, told FRANCE24. “Everyone is in shock, I took the underground this morning to come to work and saw everyone talking on the phone, lines are jammed, it’s a strange atmosphere”.

There were scenes of mourning in Krakow, the second largest city in Poland. According to Mada Matyjaszek, 24, the streets of the city were quiet. “At the moment, everyone is at home following the news on the radio or sitting in front of their TVs,” said Matyjaszek in a phone interview with FRANCE24. 

Social networking and microblogging sites such as Facebook and Twitter featured posts by ordinary Poles reeling from the shock. “I'm close to tears as I listen to the reports of the plane crash in Smolensk,” wrote a user identified as “olikard” on Twitter. “Poland has just lost many great people."

Online users outside Poland have expressed their condolences and support for the people of Poland. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Poland right now!” wrote one Twitter user identified as rdenus. Another, identified as “shaansekhar” added, “My condolences for everybody in Poland and especially for all families/friends, who lost their beloved ones in the plane crash today.”

The fact that Kaczynski was heading to Katyn to commemorate the victims of a Stalin era massacre was also noted. “The cruel part is that all these people died, when we're going to commemorate one of the most horrible act of murder,” wrote a Twitter user identified as cineandreea.

Shortly after the news of the accident was announced by Polish media, a Facebook user called Piotr Bozek created a group called “R.I.P. Black Saturday 10.04.2010”. Video and photos of the accident have been posted on the page. At last count, more than 5,000 people had joined the group.

Another Facebook group, called “*”, created after the accident, already has more than 3,000 fans. The page’s creators and members are spreading the news of four events that had been organised tonight in Krakow and Warsaw to pay tribute to the victims of the accident.

Date created : 2010-04-10

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