North Korea has bid a final farewell to the man it called its ‘Dear Leader.’
For three hours, Kim Jong-il’s funeral cortege headed through the snowy streets of Pyongyang, watched by tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers.
No world leaders were in attendance for the huge procession. However, Kim’s successor and third son Kim Jong-un accompanied the hearse, as did endless scenes of unrestrained grieving.
Kim Jong-il died aged 69 of a heart attack on December 17, according to state media.
Many saw the bleak weather conditions as a sign of the sky’s sadness for a man turned into a demi-god by the isolated country’s propaganda machine.
This was the first of two days of funeral ceremonies. On Thursday, the last day of official mourning, three minutes of silence will be observed.
Tributes to the late leader were not the only aim of this exercise, say analysts. It was also about demonstrating public support for North Korea’s ongoing Kim dynasty, in the shape of Kim Jong-un.
Inexperienced, untested and under 30 years old, he has been named the ‘Great Successor’ in this nuclear nation.