Many thousands of weeping people have been queueing in pouring rain for hours in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, to pay their last respects to their dead leader, General Juan Peron, as he lay in state in the National Congress.
GV ZOOM OUT Long queue of people in rain 23 blocks from Congress Building (2 shots)
GV Congress Building
LV & SV People filing up steps into building (2 shots)
SV INT Wailing enter chamber
LV, SV & CU People cry and cross themselves as they pass Peron's body (3 shots)
SV President Stroessner of Paraguay leaves Congress (2 shots)
Initials BB/2117 RS/MR/BB/2132
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Many thousands of weeping people have been queueing in pouring rain for hours in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, to pay their last respects to their dead leader, General Juan Peron, as he lay in state in the National Congress.
On Wednesday (3 July) the queue was more than 20 blocks long and when darkness fell it was estimated there were more than half a million people still waiting to file past the dead President dressed in military uniform with a rosary clasped in his hands.
General Peron's widow and successor as President, Maria Estela Martinez de Peron, visited the blue room twice on Wednesday to stand in silent vigil beside the coffin.
President Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, in Buenos Aires for the funeral, also went to pay his respects.
General Peron's funeral wa postponed for one day until Thursday to allow more of the his people to pass the coffin.
Such scenes have not been witnessed in argentina since the death of Peron's second wife Evita in July 1952.
Peron left instructions that he did not want to be embalmed and wanted to be buried in the family tomb in the cemetery of Chacarita.
However, he will be embalmed and will probably be on display again within two weeks. Already there are plans for an immense mausoleum for his remains.
On Thursday (4 July) the lying-in-state was cut short when troops dispersed the waiting crowds.
Argentina's three days of official mourning ended at midday (1500 GMT) Thursday and the body of General Peron was taken back to the Presidential residence in the suburb of Olivos for the funeral. It was there that General Peron died on Monday (1 July) after heart failure at the age of 78.
SYNOPSIS: Tens of thousand of Argentians queued all through Wednesday in the capital Buenos Aires to pay their last respects to their dead leader, General Juan Peron, who died on Monday. The queues stretched more than twenty blocks away from the National Congress building where General Peron was lying in state.
Three people died here on Tuesday by the Congress steps when mourners slipped and caused a human avalanche. Groups from the Peronist movement waited. But most were individuals wanting to see for the last time the man who shaped three decades of Argentine life.
There were emotional scenes in the blue chamber where General Peron lay, dressed in military uniform -- a rosary clasped in his hands.
Twice during the day his widow and successor as President, Maria Estate Martinez de Peron, came to stand in ailment vigil before the coffin. The funeral wa postponed a day to allow more people to pass. But as night fell there was still an estimated half a million people queuing outside the Congress.
One mourner was President Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay. The lying in state and official mourning ended on Thursday -- the day of General Peron's funeral. An immense mausoleum is planned for his embalmed remains.