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Protest Against Relocation of Katyn Monument in Jersey City

© SputnikRally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial
Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial - Sputnik International
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JERSEY CITY (Sputnik) - City Mayor Steve Fulop and the Katyn Forest Massacre Memorial Committee came to an agreement on relocation earlier this week. The statue will remain close to the waterfront and is expected to move only about 200 feet from its current position.

However, on Sunday dozens have come to the monument with Polish and US flags of all sizes, demanding that their history be respected.Around 3 p.m. local time (19:00 GMT) demonstrators began gathering in front of the memorial at Exchange Place plaza in Jersey City, New Jersey.

© SputnikRally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial
Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial - Sputnik International
Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial

"All we want is to make sure that this place, even if it's moved, even if Katyn Memorial finds a new home, it's full of dignity, and it's actually something we can live with," Slawomir Platta, a Polish-American attorney and the protest organizer, told reporters.

Poland’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz attends a meeting with his Latvian counterpart, Raimonds Bergmanis, in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, March 14, 2016 - Sputnik International
Polish Defense Minister Calls 1940 Murder of Officers at Katyn 'Genocide'
Platta decried the lack of transparency from the mayor's office on the relocation process.

"Poland in this situation just wants dignity, nothing else. We were excluded from the process from the very beginning. Now is the time when we come back and we want to ensure that nothing happens without us," Platta told Sputnik shortly after the demonstration began.

Fullop came under fire last month when he announced the monument would be moved as the area where it is currently located is being redeveloped.

The statue of a soldier speared with a bayonet makes for a striking figure against the backdrop of towering skyscrapers. The side of the monument holds a plaque commemorating the victims of another terrible tragedy, the September 11 attacks in New York City.

© SputnikRally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial
Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial - Sputnik International
Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial

"This is not just a Polish monument. Look closely. This is 9/11 memorial. And we want to make sure that it stays here, right?" Platta said, gesturing toward 1 World Trade Center, the target of the 2001 terrorist attack, standing directly across the Hudson river.

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Polish Bikers Blazing a Trail Through Russia During Annual Katyn Motocross
The crowd responded with a resounding "Yes!" Two men rolled out a large banner that read "Hands Off Katyn Monument. Respect Our History."

"We think it’s an important piece of our history that we want to commemorate. Twenty-two thousand Polish and Jewish soldiers died in brutal massacre, just shot in the head and dumped into mass graves. We’ve managed to keep that memory alive for so long," one protester told Sputnik.

Platta warned against assaults on the past.

Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial
Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial - Sputnik International
Rally in Jersey City Against Relocation of Katyn Memorial

"Don’t touch history, or it will repeat itself," the activist said

The demonstration concluded with Polish and US national anthems and the ringing of the Katyn bell, brought to the location.

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