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Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral procession begins

IANS |

The funeral procession of Singapore’s founder prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has started on Sunday.

Lee died at the age of 91 on Monday after a long battle with pneumonia.

His casket was carried out of Parliament House by the Coffin Bearer Party, commanded by Brigadier-General Ong Tze-Ch’in, Commander, 3rd Division, comprising eight senior officers from the Singapore Air Force and Singapore Police Force, Today online reported. 

The procession headed for the University Cultural Centre (UCC) located at the National University of Singapore (NUS) where the funeral service will be held.

The casket is being carried on a ceremonial artillery gun carriage connected to a limber, and towed by a ceremonial Land Rover. The gun carriage consists of a 25-pounder howitzer on which is mounted a tempered glass case in which the casket rests.

Officers marched in the rain escorting Lee’s casket as the procession moved out of Parliament House.

Hundreds of onlookers gathered in the streets to bid farewell to the founding father of Singapore.

Over 1.4 million people came to pay their last respects to Lee on Sunday, Tass news agency reported citing a source at the funeral’s organising committee.

About 415,000 people came to say their goodbye to the late prime minister in the four days while his body lay in state in the parliament’s building from March 25 to 28. 

People stood in long queues under the scorching sun and heat for as long as 10 hours in the last four days as the body lay in state. 

Around 850,000 other people who could not get into parliament paid their tributes to the late premier at 18 memorial sites, which were specially opened for this purpose.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, former US president Bill Clinton and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott are among a host of world leaders attending Sunday’s funeral.