Ahead of a state funeral this weekend, Vietnam has entered an official mourning period for its independence hero General Giap.
Flags are flying at half mast, concerts have been cancelled, parks closed and regular programmes on state TV replaced by patriotic music and documentaries.
Since the general ‘s death a week ago, at the age of 102, tens of thousands of mourners have queued for hours at his villa in Hanoi to lay flowers and pay their last respects.
“I am very sad,” said Trinh Minh Liem, 65, from Thanh Hoa province. “Even though I could not go into the general’s house to light incense for him, I am standing at the gate…and like all other people here, we are very moved and have the highest regard for the general and his family.”
Although later sidelined by the Communist regime, Giap remained popular, with a standing second only to that of revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.
Dubbed the ‘Red Napoleon’, he masterminded the defeats of colonial power France in the 1950s and later American forces, to become one of the 20th century’s most notable military commanders.
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