Singaporeans bid final farewell to founding father Lee

Tens of thousands of people braved heavy rain and lined the streets of Singapore on March 29 to catch a last glimpse of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as his funeral procession wound through the country he helped build.

Booms from a 21-gun salute reverberated around the country's business district, fighter jets flew overhead in a "missing man" formation and two navy ships near the marina made an 'L' 'K' 'Y' signal with their flags as Lee's coffin was taken by gun carriage from the country's parliament to his state funeral.

The procession carrying Lee, who died on March 23 aged 91, will pass through Tanjong Pagar, the constituency he represented for 60 years, before continuing the 15.4 km trip to the ceremony at the National University of Singapore.

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The funeral service is expected to begin at 14:00 at a cultural centre in the west, with foreign leaders including former US President Bill Clinton, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and UK House of Commons leader William Hague attending.

The country will also observe a minute's silence in the afternoon before singing the national anthem. The private cremation is taking place at the Mandai crematorium.

Many of the city-state's shopping and commercial centres are expected to be closed on March 29 as a mark of respect to Mr Lee.

More than half a million people - 12% of Singaporean citizens - visited Parliament House to see Mr Lee's coffin, while at least 850,000 others went to community sites to pay tribute.

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Crowds began lining the funeral route early on March 29 morning despite pouring rain
BBC/Reuters