Thousands pay respects to Nelson Mandela as he lies in state for three days

Nelson Mandela's body is now lying in state in Pretoria at the location of his 1994 presidential inauguration; thousands paid their respects on the first of three days he will lie in state.
Posted By JC Finley  |  Dec. 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM
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Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Thousands of South Africans paid homage to Nelson Mandela during the first of three days his body will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the location of his 1994 inauguration.

The former South African president and anti-apartheid hero was eulogized yesterday at a memorial service in Johannesburg that was attended by more than 90 world leaders and tens of thousands of mourners. His body will now lie in state for three days before his funeral on Sunday.

Mandela's head and shoulders are visible as he lies in state, dressed in a brown shirt, his coffin encased by a glass cover. His body is guarded by four junior naval officers in dress whites. Among the first to pay their respects was South African President Jacob Zuma, who accompanied Mandela's family members earlier today.

Thousands of mourners lined up today, waiting hours to see Mandela's body. The public will be admitted through Friday. On Saturday, Mandela's body will be transported by military aircraft to Mthatha in the eastern Cape, where his casket will be placed on a gun carriage and taken to his childhood town of Qunu. The funeral will be Sunday.

[UPI] [New York Times] [CNN]

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