SINGAPORE: The Singapore government Saturday reopened a massive queue for mourners to pay their last respects to founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew after a temporary suspension for safety reasons.
A surge of mourners late Friday forced overwhelmed officials to cut off access to the Padang, an open field close to parliament, where Lee’s remains have been lying in state since Wednesday.
The queue was reopened after seven hours.
An earlier government statement said that as of 11pm Friday, more than 290,000 people had paid their respects to Lee, who led Singapore to independence from Malaysia in 1965.
Lee, who died at 91 on Monday after a long illness, is credited with the rise of the former British colony into one of the world’s wealthiest societies after he served as prime minister for 31 years, followed by another 20 years as cabinet adviser.
Until the suspension, the queue ran for 24 hours amid a widespread show of grief over the passing of the patriarch who governed Singapore with an iron fist, sidelining political opponents, muzzling the media and restricting political freedoms as he steered the economy to prosperity.
Lee is to be given full state honours before being cremated Sunday, including a 21-gun salute and a fly-past by fighter jets.
Former US President Bill Clinton, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian King Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah are among the confirmed state representatives attending the funeral.