Sea of cops, soldiers turn out for Mandela

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IOL  South Africa Mandela Mourning~53


The flag flies half-staff at Union buildings in Pretoria. Picture: Peter Dejong

Pretoria - Hundreds of police officers and soldiers were stationed outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday morning to await the procession bearing former president Nelson Mandela's body.

Soldiers disembarked from buses in front of the Union Buildings lawns and chatted in groups before assembling smartly in neat rows to await the procession.

They marched in two columns, getting into position along the procession route. They were positioned on either side of Madiba Street, standing about three metres apart.

Five military vehicles drove towards the Union Buildings and a number of double-decker buses carried passengers. Roads near the buildings were closed.

Police cars of various descriptions, military lorries, and even tanks were visible near the Union Buildings.

Mandela will lie in state for the next three days in Pretoria this week.

The public are allowed to view the body from noon on Wednesday, but only if they use the park and ride facilities provided.

President Jacob Zuma and various dignitaries are expected to pay their respects to Mandela before the public are allowed in.

At 6am, police greatly outnumbered members of the public ahead of the guard of honour. - Sapa

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