Tens of thousands of people have bid farewell to Indonesia’s former autocratic president Suharto. His body was flown from the capital Jakarta to be buried in the royal city of Solo in central Java this morning. Crowds lined the streets as Suharto’s coffin was taken to its final resting place next to his wife’s in the family mausoleum.
Suharto died at the weekend at the age of 86 after suffering multiple organ failure. Ousted in 1998 after 32 years in power, Suharto left behind a controversial legacy. Although his iron-fisted rule was dogged with accusations of rampant corruption and human rights abuses, it also brought economic stability.
The son of a minor official from a small village in central Java, Suharto married into one of Solo’s royal families and later assumed the manners of a Javanese king. At least half a million people were killed during his rule, but Suharto was never brought to account and lived a peaceful retirement.
Two tonnes of Jasmine flowers and a hundred kilos of red roses were prepared for the ceremony, which was attended by many of the region’s leaders, as well as Indonesia’s president and members of the country’s elite.