Singaporeans bid farewell to longtime leader Lee Kuan Yew | News | DW | 29.03.2015
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Singaporeans bid farewell to longtime leader Lee Kuan Yew

Citizens of Singapore have paid tribute to their longtime leader, Lee Kuan Yew, in a state funeral. Yew, who passed away a week ago, is widely regarded as the founding father of the Southeast Asian city state.

Tens of thousands of mourners braved torrential rain on Sunday to get a glimpse of Lee Kuan Yew's coffin, draped in Singapore's red and white flag and protected from the elements by a glass casing, as it was carried through the city state on a two-wheeled carriage.

The procession was followed on foot by his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, other members of the Lee family and government officials.

Howitzers fired a 21-gun salute and jet fighters screamed across the sky in a tribute to Yew, who was Singapore's first prime minister.

Later, his son delivered the eulogy at the state funeral service, held at the National University of Singapore.

"The light that has guided us all this years has been extinguished," Prime Minister Lee said.

"To those who seek Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's monument, Singaporeans can reply proudly: Look around you," Lee Hsien Loong added.

International dignitaries in attendance

Leaders from several other countries in the Asia-Pacific region attended the funeral, including former US President Bill Clinton, as well as prime ministers Narendra Modi of India, Shinzo Abe of Japan and Australia's Tony Abbott.

Lee Kuan Yew, who governed Singapore for more than three decades, is widely seen as the architect of the country's prosperity and harmonious relations between its ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indian populations. However, he has also been criticized for maintaining an iron grip on power and crushing political dissent and opposition.

Lee Kuan Yew passed away last Monday at the age of 91.

pfd/sms (AP, AFP)

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