Poland`s new President takes command of army

Poland`s new President formally took control of the nation`s military on Sunday.

Warsaw: Poland`s new President formally took
control of the nation`s military on Sunday and unveiled a plaque
to the victims of the plane crash that killed his predecessor
and 95 other people.

Bronislaw Komorowski, who as the country`s President is
commander in Chief, assumed command of the armed forces on
Army Day, the August 15 holiday that honours a stunning Polish
victory against Russian Bolsheviks in 1920.

In a ceremony at Warsaw`s central Pilsudski Square,
Komorowski knelt at a military banner and kissed it as he was
surrounded by soldiers. The event was marked by military pomp,
including a parade, the playing of trumpets and the firing of
cannons.

Komorowski was sworn in as Poland`s new president more
than a week ago, making him the fourth democratically elected
head of state since Poland threw off communism, and the
successor to Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in the plane crash
in Russia.

A bitter political and religious dispute is raging over
how to memorialise Kaczynski and the other victims.

The focus of controversy has been a large wooden cross in
front of the presidential palace, which Kaczynski`s supporters
have surrounded around the clock for many days. They want to
keep the cross there until a major memorial is built to the
victims and have prevented authorities from moving it to a
nearby church.

Komorowski and many secular-minded Poles object to the
cross because they say a public building is not the right
place for a religious symbol in a country that by law is
defined as secular.

Yesterday some supporters were removed to make way for
today`s parade, though the cross was left in place.
Nevertheless, protesters reacted by erecting a second cross
across the street from the palace.

PTI

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