Thousands of Ethiopians attend Meles Zenawi burial

Thousands greeted the coffin’s arrival on Meskel Square

September 2, 2012  | BBC News

Thousands of people have been attending the state funeral in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia’s long-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died last month.

Mr Meles’ flag-draped coffin was carried from his palace to the city’s Meskel Square for a ceremony, then buried at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Dozens of foreign leaders and dignitaries, including at least 20 African presidents, were present.

Mr Meles died at the age of 57 in Brussels, following a long illness.

He came to power in 1991 and was credited for bringing development and growth to Ethiopia.

But critics say this was achieved at the cost of respect for human rights.

The state funeral – Ethiopia’s first for a leader in more than 80 years – began in Meskel Square after a journey of about an hour-and-a-half from Mr Meles’ official residence, the Grand National Palace.

After several hours, the coffin was taken to the city’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in heavy rain for the burial.

The casket was lowered into a grave and covered with stone slabs, as wailing crowds jostled around the burial site.

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