Poles Condemn Church Expulsion

WARSAW -- Polish political and church authorities have condemned the brutal expulsion of Catholics from a Polish-funded church in Moscow and demanded explanation from Russia.


The head of Poland's powerful Roman Catholic Church, Primate Jozef Glemp, called the Russian police action a "sad incident" stemming from atheistic system which does not tolerate religious people.


The incident occurred Wednesday night, when police forcibly expelled several dozen parishioners, including Poles, from the church in an ownership dispute. Several people were beaten and others were detained.


One Polish nun remained hospitalized and another was released home with slight injuries after police used truncheons to expel the Catholic protesters from the church, which they were trying to take over in a bid to end months of ownership dispute.


The events at the Immaculate Conception Church arouses anxiety, the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday night.


"Poland is expecting a thorough examination and a full explanation of the case," the statement said.


The church, built in 1911 from funds gathered by Moscow's Polish community, is occupied by a construction group, Mostekhproyekt, and its trader subtenants.


In the 1930s, communist authorities confiscated the church and in 1990 partially returned it for religious use. It now has 2,000 parishioners.


Following Poland's repeated motions and President Boris Yeltsin's decision, Moscow authorities decided to return the church, but the construction group has no place to move to, Polish media reported Friday.