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Monday, May 10, 1999 Published at 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK

World: Europe

Polish law protects Nazi camp sites

A new law has been approved in Poland to protect former Nazi concentration camp sites.

The legislation restricts development and public gatherings in a one-hundred-metre zone around the former camps.The law is part of the government's efforts to remove hundreds of controversial crosses, erected by Catholics outside Auschwitz.

They began planting the crosses last year to protest against demands by Jewish groups for the removal of an eight-metre-tall cross outside Auschwitz, which was used during a papal mass in 1979.

Jewish groups say the crosses offend the memory of more than a million Jews who died in the cap between 1940 and 1945. The government has said the large cross will remain.

Correspondents say the law will allow government intervention if activity outside the former camps threatens an atmosphere of peace and dignity.

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