Rome has been filled to bursting point with pilgrims intent on paying their last respects to Pope John Paul II. But many of them are simply too late to make it. Italian police have sealed off the rear of the queue of people waiting to see the Pontiff’s body. They decided to limit the flow as they look ahead to preparations for tomorrow’s funeral.
Hundreds of thousands of people remain in the line. They will have to hang on for many hours more to get their chance to see John Paul. A second, parallel queue has already formed, hoping to be first in line to file past his grave. The sometimes chaotic scenes outside contrast with the calm inside St Peter’s Basilica.
The ceremony tomorrow will be attended by presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens and of course religious leaders. An estimated four million people are in the Italian capital for the event, many of them from the Pope’s native Poland. Events will be relayed out to giant screens at seven points around the city.