Poland Marks Smolensk Anniversary

One year has passed since the plane crash in Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 passengers including the Polish president Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria.

Ceremonies began at 8:41am (the exact time of the crash) on Sunday 10 April, as sirens sounded from outside the Presidential Palace on Krakowskie Przedmiescie street in downtown Warsaw. Prime Minster Donald Tusk lay a wreath in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, in honour of those elected representatives who died in the crash. The PM was joined by President Bronislaw Komorowski in laying wreaths at the Armed Forces Cathedral in Warsaw under a plaque commemorating the victims of Smolensk. A ceremony also took place at the Smolensk victims' monument in Warsaw's historic Powazki cemetery.

Alongside the official ceremonies of the day, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, opposition leader and twin brother of the late President, led protests outside the Presidential Palace. Thousands of protesters joined in the Law and Justice party leader's demands for revealing the truth behind the crash in Smolensk.

The victims' family members have travelled to Russia to pay their respects at the crash site. A special ceremony will take place on Monday 11 April with Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski as well as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in attendance.


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