The Polish city of Krakow held a funeral on Sunday for President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, who were killed in an April 10 plane crash along with 94 other Polish political and military officials near Smolensk in Russia.
REUTERS - Polish and foreign leaders attended a funeral mass on Sunday for President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria, but a volcanic ash cloud over Europe prevented some overseas guests from joining them.
However, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev managed to fly to the city, reinforcing a strong message of Russian solidarity since the crash that has raised Polish hopes for an improvement in long-strained ties with their communist-era overlord.
In the hours and days following the deadly April 10 plane crash, Poles gathered in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw to pay tribute to the dead
Thousands of people gathered in front of the Polish presidential palace in the hours after a plane crash killing the head of state Lech Kaczynski. (AFP)
Poland's central bank governor and armed forces chief of staff were also among the 96 people killed when the ageing Tupolev jet crashed in thick fog near the western Russian city of Smolensk. (AFP)
Crowds left red and white roses and lit candles in front of the 200 year old building near Warsaw's old town. Though Kaczynski was a divisive figure in his home country, many were in tears. (AFP)
People spontaneously sent mobile phone text messages asking friends to gather in Pilsudski Square, the traditional venue for large gatherings including Papal masses, on Saturday night. (AFP)
Across the devoutly Catholic country, people flooded into churches to pay homage to, and mourn, the dead. (AP)
"All Poles must be together today regardless of their political views," 50-year-old Jan Szczepanski told reporters. "I didn't support Lech Kaczynski, but it doesn't matter today."
Date created : 2010-04-18