Wooden Cross Continues to Cause Controversy

Over the last few weeks, one particularly contentious story has been making headlines in Warsaw and across the country.

The tale is that of the wooden cross on Krakowskie Przedmiescie street in the centre of town. While the country was in mourning after the April 10 Smolensk airplane crash, which killed 96 Poles including the president Lech Kaczynski, a group of scouts placed a wooden cross before the presidential palace. Over time however, it became apparent that what was originally intended to be a temporary symbol might not be so easy to remove. Despite plans to simply move the cross to a nearby church, the cross has attracted a small group of protesters who have camped outside the presidential palace, blocking any attempt to move the cross. The "defenders of the cross" have staged several protests with the aid of hundreds, if not thousands, of supporters, calling for the cross to remain in its current location in remembrance of the deceased.

Opposing groups have similarly gathered for protests, suggesting the cross' placement is "illegal" and requesting a religious symbol be removed from before the presidential palace, therefore retaining the important division of church and state.

In the meantime, a plaque was placed on the premises by officials, commemorating the deceased, the time of mourning, and the cross at the location, which made it seem that the cross was still to be moved. The defenders of the cross however, were clearly unimpressed, claiming that the plaque was not enough and demanding a real memorial (such as a statue) for the former president. Since then, the city has had to pay for the constant monitoring of the location (including crowd control at protests), the prosecution of a man who threw excrement at the plaque, the investigation of bomb threats, and a man who appeared at the site with a disarmed grenade.

Will the cross be moved? And when will it happen? All of these are questions that remain to be answered

Read more at the Krakow Post.


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