Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Millions of people joined the burial of the late former President Cory "Corazon" Aquino (with video)

Millions of people joined the burial of the late former President Cory "Corazon" Aquino (with video). Millions more people, including from the 8.7-million-strong overseas Filipino community, monitored the slow progress of the cortege on television and Internet streaming sites. Farewell to former president Corazon Aquino, whose "People Power" democracy movement ended decades of dictatorship.

Aquino, who died aged 76 after a long battle with cancer, was to be buried in a private ceremony after a long funeral procession skirting the Philippine capital's gleaming business towers and teeming shantytowns.

With a national holiday called as part of 10 days of official mourning, thousands of people surrounded her coffin as it left Manila Cathedral following a mass just before noon draped in the national flag.

By mid-afternoon, a police spokesman told reporters 150,000 people lined the 18-kilometre (11-mile) route from the cathedral to the cemetery where she was to be laid to rest.

It took over four hours for the vehicle to travel just one third of the route. Men and women standing at least 10-deep on both sides of the road openly wept as the truck crawled through the swelling crowd, while military helicopters circled overhead, showering them with yellow confetti.

People in buildings lining Manila's streets opened their windows, hung yellow banners and dropped confetti onto the sea of mourners below. A crowd of nuns, their blue habits wet from the rain, released white doves and yellow balloons yellow was Aquino's signature colour. Ships docked along Manila Bay sounded mournful horns. Aquino was to be laid to rest alongside her husband Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, who was gunned down at Manila airport in 1983 as he returned home to challenge the dictator Marcos.

President Gloria Arroyo, whom Aquino had turned against over accusations of corruption in the Arroyo administration, made a brief pre-dawn visit to the cathedral to pay her last respects.

She shook hands with the former leader's son, Senator Benigno Aquino, and prayed briefly over the casket.

Arroyo cut short a visit to the United States following the former leader's death on Saturday and was met by the Aquino family.

But she was pointedly excluded from the invitation-only mass that was also attended by two past presidents, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, and foreign diplomats.

The family had rejected Arroyo's offer to hold a state funeral, reflecting the icy relationship between the only two Filipino women to have led the fractious and impoverished Southeast Asian nation of 90 million people.

Related Post:
1. Watch Lea Salonga sings "Bayan Ko" at funeral mass of former President Corazon Aquino
2. Late Former President Corazon Aquino: SWS, called the country's most important postwar president
3. Thousands of people join in Manila Cathedral mass and funeral march of the late former President Corazon Aquino
4. Former President Corazon Aquino: People power icon, passes away at 76
5. Thousands of people pay last respects to late former President Corazon Aquino
6. Millions of people joined the burial of the late former President Cory "Corazon" Aquino (with video)

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