December 10, 2013 in Nation/World

Mourners flock to Nelson Mandela’s memorial service

Jon Gambrell Associated Press
Associated Press photo

People react and gesture in the pouring rain as they arrive for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, today.
(Full-size photo)

JOHANNESBURG – Mourners are gathering at a stadium near Johannesburg for a massive memorial service honoring Nelson Mandela.

A light rain fell today as mourners gathered at FNB Stadium in Soweto, the Johannesburg township that was a stronghold of support for the anti-apartheid struggle that Mandela embodied.

Singing, joyous crowds are swelling in the stands despite the rain. Workers still were welding at a VIP area as the first spectators arrived.

Some 100 world leaders are expected. U.S. President Barack Obama landed in South Africa hours before the event was due to start.

Police have promised tight security and are patrolling a wide perimeter around the stadium. Even so, the first crowds entered the stadium without being searched.

Mandela died Thursday at age 95. He will be buried Sunday.

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