A minute of silence was observed before the opening whistle of Saturday’s Real Madrid-Barcelona match in memory of the victims of the air catastrophe in Russia, which killed the president of Poland and his wife, along with more than 90 other people. The match, which was watched by millions around the world, was broadcast in Poland without commentary in accordance with the official national state of mourning being observed throughout Poland.

The players of both teams played wearing black armbands in memory of those killed in the crash.

All public celebrations and entertainment events in Poland have been cancelled during the mourning period, which took effect at 6 p.m. Central European Time Saturday and will continue through 16 April. In addition to flags being flown at half staff and newspapers printed in black and white, no plays, concerts, festivals, public celebrations or sporting events will be held during the period of official grieving.

National mourning periods of a week or more have only occurred twice before in the history of Poland: from 3 to 8 April 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II, and from 4 to 18 October 1944, after the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising.


See also: Polish Tragedy in Smolensk: Key events, list of victims

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