Asia

Lee Kuan Yew: Singaporeans urged not to join queues

Members of the public queue up to pay their respects to Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew where he lies in state at Parliament House in Singapore on March 27, 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tents and water stations have been put up around Parliament House for the crowds

Singapore's authorities have advised people to stop joining the queues to view founding father and statesman Lee Kuan Yew as he lies in state.

Some 250,000 people have already visited to pay respects to Mr Lee, who died on Monday aged 91.

A state funeral will be held on Sunday, with foreign dignitaries from around the world expected to attend.

India has declared it a national day of mourning, with flags flown at half-mast and no official entertainment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the funeral.

Public viewing of Mr Lee's body, which has been open day and all night since Wednesday, will end on Saturday night.

Singaporean officials were caught off-guard by the overwhelming crowds that showed up, with the queue snaking through the city centre.

They warned that by Friday afternoon the queuing time to enter Parliament House was nine hours.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption At one point on Friday the queue was up to 10 hours long

Authorities said in a statement that members of the public were "strongly advised" not to join the queue now, and redirected them to smaller tribute sites set up around the island.

The line has since been moved to the Padang, a large field used in central Singapore for parades and cricket matches, where tents and crowd control barricades have been set up.

Image copyright Reuters

Water and umbrellas were distributed to those waiting under the sweltering heat.

Image copyright AFP

Mr Lee was the country's first prime minister and led Singapore to independence in 1965. He was hugely respected by Singaporeans.

Image copyright AFP

He will lie in state until Sunday morning, when his body will be moved to a cultural centre in the west of the city for his funeral. The funeral procession will wind through the city centre and his Tanjong Pagar constituency on the edge of the business district.

Image copyright AFP

Past and present world leaders have arrived in Singapore to pay their respects during the public viewing, including former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Image copyright Reuters

Those attending the funeral include UK House of Commons leader William Hague; Indonesian President Joko Widodo; Malaysia's King Abdul Halim; India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; South Korea's President Park Geun-hye and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The US will be represented by former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, while China has sent Vice-President Li Yuanchao.

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