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Braving the rain, thousands throng the streets to bid farewell to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

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THE inclement weather on Sunday didn't stop thousands from lining a 15.4km-route from Parliament House in the Central Business District all the way to the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus in Kent Ridge.

As the cortege of Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew began the funeral procession at 12.30pm under pouring rain, scores of people - most dressed in black, many wearing black ribbons, others clutching or waving the national flag - bid the country's founding father a final farewell.

Minutes earlier, the coffin bearer party, comprising eight officers from the army, navy, air force and police, carried Mr Lee's casket and placed it on the ceremonial gun carriage.

As the carriage pulled away from Parliament House, members of Mr Lee's extended family, including his eldest son and chief mourner Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, followed closely behind.

When the procession passed in front of City Hall, four Black Knight jets from the air force flew in a "Missing Man" formation, where one aircraft departed the formation in an aerial salute.

Two navy vessels later conducted a ceremonial sailpast in the waters off the Marina Barrage. The ships sounded three prolonged horn blasts that lasted ten seconds each.

There was a 21-gun salute fired by four 25-pounder guns at the Padang, an honour usually reserved for sitting heads of state.

The incessant downpour couldn't stop large crowds from gathering throughout the route. They cheered "Lee Kuan Yew! Lee Kuan Yew!" and threw flower petals on the road as the procession made its way through Tanjong Pagar - where Mr Lee was a member of parliament for 60 years - Jalan Bukit Merah and Commonwealth Avenue.

It arrived at the University Cultural Centre in NUS, the venue for the funeral service, at about 1.45pm. The service, which will last just over three hours, began shortly after, with ten eulogies to be delivered.

The public warning system siren will be sounded twice islandwide at about 4pm to signal the start and end of a minute of silence for the late Mr Lee.

For all our coverage on the death of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew:

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