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Polish PM calls for respect in public life after mayor slain

Boy and girl scouts standing at attention by the urn with ashes of slain Gdansk city Mayor Pawel Adamowicz during his funeral Mass attended by Poland's and European officials, at St. Mary's Basilica in Gdansk, Poland, on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. Adamowicz died Monday after being stabbed the night before at a charity event by an ex-convict with a grudge against an opposition party that Adamowicz once belonged to.(AP Photo/Wojtek Strozyk)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s conservative Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on politicians and public figures Sunday to make the public debate more respectful after the slaying of Gdansk city mayor which raised calls for national reconciliation.

Morawiecki said that the death of Pawel Adamowicz was a “great evil” that should be turned into something positive. Events were held across Poland in memory of Adamowicz, including at the site where he was fatally attacked.

Adamowicz died Jan. 14 after being stabbed the night before onstage at a public charity event in the northern Polish city. The arrested suspect is an ex-convict who publicly voiced a grudge against an opposition party that Adamowicz once belonged to.

Adamowicz’s funeral Saturday drew large crowds and was attended by Polish and European officials. The speakers, who weren’t politicians, made appeals for the elimination of aggression from the public and political sphere.

Poland’s political debate is getting increasingly heated over the actions of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party and ahead of local and European elections this year.

Morawiecki said Sunday that Adamowicz’s death should become a turning point and appealed to politicians, commentators, media and intellectuals to “make our public life better and the political debate calmer, wiser and filled with due mutual respect.”

He said that after the death “we very much need national reconciliation and accord.”

In Gdansk, a meeting was with Adamowicz’s family and friends who talked about his growing into a political figure and about their memories of him. It was held at the Solidarity museum and culture center, where he laid in state last week and where tens of thousands of people came to pay him their last respects.

Also in Gdansk, thousands of people gathered with electric lights at the site where Adamowicz was stabbed Jan. 13 and at the exact time of the attack sent a “Light to Pawel” into the dark skies chanting “Thank you.”

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