05/29/2009, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Tens of thousands attend the funeral of former president Roh

More than 3 thousand officials and diplomats participated in the ceremony at Seoul’s ancient Royal Palace. The government deployed over 15 thousand police to block anti-government demonstrations. The body was criminated and will be buried in Bongha, Roh Moo-hyun’s native village.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – This morning thousands of South Korean’s dressed in black carrying yellow balloons bid a final farewell to former president Roh Moo-hyun, who committed suicide on May 23rd at 63 years of age.  The gesture appears to have been motivated by a “psychological break-down” as a result of an inquiry into corruption charges against him.

More than 3 thousand officials, politicians and diplomats participated in the state funeral held at Seoul’s ancient Royal Palace including current president Lee Myung-bak and former heads of State Kim Dae-jung and Kim Young-sam. In order to avoid clashes and demonstrations with Roh’s supporters the government deployed 15 thousand police throughout the capital.

This morning at 5 am local time Roh’s body was transferred from Bongha, his native village, to the capital; the funeral ceremony began with the South Korean national anthem; a maxi-screen installed outside the palace, allowed thousands of citizens who could not gain access to the palace participate in the ceremony.

In recent days millions have wanted to pay homage to the former president in over 140 altars erected throughout the nation; over a million people are reported to have made their way to his home village Bongha, where Roh had decided to withdraw to live following the end of his presidential mandate.

Following the funeral Roh Moo-hyun’s body was cremated and will be returned to Bongha for burial.

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