Britain set for funeral of London soldier

2013-07-12 09:02
Crowds look on as the hearse carrying the coffin of British Fusilier Lee Rigby arrives at Bury Parish Church in Bury, northwest England for a vigil on the eve of his funeral. (Lindsey Parnaby, AFP)

Crowds look on as the hearse carrying the coffin of British Fusilier Lee Rigby arrives at Bury Parish Church in Bury, northwest England for a vigil on the eve of his funeral. (Lindsey Parnaby, AFP)

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London - Friends and family of a British soldier murdered on a London street in a suspected Islamist attack will pay their respects at his funeral in northern England on Friday.

Lee Rigby, aged 25, was hacked to death in broad daylight near his barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, on 22 May.

Onlookers in Bury applauded his cortege on Thursday as it made its way to Bury Parish Church, escorted by drummers. The coffin was decorated with floral tributes spelling the words "brother", "son" and "husband".

His family attended a service that afternoon, ahead of Friday's full military ceremony.

The body of Fusilier Rigby was at his regiment's garrison church in Bury for an overnight vigil.

Two men, Michael Adebowale, aged 22, and Michael Adebolajo, aged 28, have been charged with his murder.

Police say there has been a rise in "Islamophobic crime" since Rigby's killing.

His death has also sparked political controversy, with critics of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) accusing the movement of trying to exploit the killing.

The EDL campaigns against what it says is the spread of radical Islam in Britain. But it has been accused of Islamophobia and previous rallies have ended in clashes with anti-fascist groups.

Read more on:    lee rigby  |  michael adebolajo  |  london soldier attack

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