Vietnam buries national hero Vo Nguyen Giap

Watch: The BBC's Jonathan Head reports from Hanoi, where the coffin was slowly carried through the packed streets amid much emotion

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Vietnamese independence hero General Vo Nguyen Giap has been buried after an elaborate two-day state funeral.

The general's body was flown from Hanoi, where it had been lying in state, to his home town in Quang Binh province for burial.

Thousands of people have paid their respects to Gen Giap in Hanoi and at military centres across Vietnam.

Gen Giap was the military commander credited with overseeing the defeat of French and US forces in his country.

He died a week ago at the age of 102.

The burial ceremony was attended by President Truong Tan Sang and other top officials and broadcast live on state television, AP reports.

Profile: General Giap

Picture of Gen Vo Nguyen Giap
  • Son of a rice grower, Vo Nguyen Giap joined a clandestine nationalist movement at the age of 14
  • He founded the Viet Minh, dedicated to ending French colonial rule
  • Gen Giap led the battle against French forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954
  • He was North Vietnam's defence minister when the Tet Offensive took place against US forces in 1968, although he was not directly involved in the operation

Thousands of people lined the national highway for hours in Gen Giap's home province of Quang Binh, the BBC's Le Nguyen reports.

Many held portraits, saying they wanted to bid the general farewell.

Vietnam War veteran and local resident Phan Thanh Cong said local people were proud that the general had chosen this location for his final resting place.

"It is our greatest happiness to be close to him," he said.

Workers in Quang Binh had been rushing to finish his tomb, at a temple on a mountainside.

The site was closed to the public until after the funeral.

Gun carriage procession

The general's coffin had been lying in state at the National Funeral Hall in Hanoi, draped in the national flag.

On Sunday, soldiers in white uniforms solemnly removed the flag and carried the red coffin from the hall while other soldiers, bearing a photograph of the general, preceded them.

In a carefully choreographed ceremony, the coffin was then placed on a gun carriage, the flag replaced, and a glass canopy lifted on top of it.

Gen Giap's family, wearing black, stood nearby.

Tens of thousands lined the route to the airport where the coffin was to be flown to Quang Binh.

Mourners gather along a road to pay respects as General Giap's cortege passes by General Giap's death has triggered an outpouring of emotion in Vietnam
A Vietnamese man knees down and cries while the convoy carrying the coffin of General Giap passes by Tens of thousands of people watched the coffin of General Giap being transported on a gun carriage
Vietnamese mourners watch as the cortege of General Giap passes by General Giap is considered by many Vietnamese as a hero of the nation of a similar status to Ho Chi Minh
Soldiers carry General Giap's coffin, headed by Vietnam's most senior political leaders General Giap's funeral brought together Vietnam's most senior military and political leaders

Once General Giap's coffin had passed, older people brought out faded photographs of their younger selves during the years of struggle, or precious snapshots of encounters with the legendary general, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Hanoi.

He says many Vietnamese people consider General Giap second only to Ho Chi Minh as a father of the nation.

The son of a rice grower, Vo Nguyen Giap became active in politics in the late 1920s and worked as a journalist before joining Ho Chi Minh's Indochinese Communist Party.

He helped Ho Chi Minh found the Viet Minh and his defeat of French forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 effectively ended French colonial rule in the region.

Gen Giap was North Vietnam's defence minister at the time of the Tet Offensive against US forces in 1968, often cited as a key campaign that led to the Americans' withdrawal.

It has been more than 30 years since Gen Giap held any position of power within the Vietnamese Communist Party.

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