Singapore′s Lee Kuan Yew farewelled in state funeral | News | DW | 29.03.2015
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Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew farewelled in state funeral

Thousands of Singaporeans lined major streets in the city-state to say a final goodbye to Lee Kuan Yew. The funeral for the man considered Singapore's founding father ends seven days of mourning.

Despite heavy rain and thunder, thousands of people lined a 15-kilometer (9-mile) stretch through Singapore on Sunday to get a glimpse of the elaborate funeral procession.

"We are here today as a family to witness this historic moment. As Singaporeans we may have our differences, but when it comes to a crunch we stand together. This is what Singapore is about and that is Mr. Lee's legacy," 35-year-old teacher Joel Lim said.

The casket of Lee Kuan Yew, who died Monday aged 91, was due to be draped in Singapore's flag and pulled by a ceremonial Land Rover from the Southeast Asian financial hub's parliament to the National University of Singapore. There, a state funeral was due to begin at 2 p.m. local time (0600 UTC).

International leaders pay respects

World leaders and dignitaries expected to attend the funeral included former US President Bill Clinton, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Singapore's former colonial ruler Britain will be represented by William Hague, Leader of the House of Commons.

During the state funeral, sirens will blare across the island to signal a minute's silence.

More then 450,000 people in Singapore had earlier paid their respects to Lee as his coffin was on display at Parliament House during seven days of nationwide morning. A million people also visited tribute sites at community centers.

Revered by many Singaporeans for transforming what was a colonial backwater into a wealthy Asian trade and finance center during his 31 years as prime minister, the former leader has also been criticized for sidelining political opponents and restricting free speech.

se/sms (AFP, AP)

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