Vietnam mourns its people's hero General Vo Nguyen Giap
HANOI (AFP) - Vietnam is preparing to honour its last great communist icon with a lavish state funeral after a week of remarkable public mourning that has seen tens of thousands queue to pay their last respects.
From octogenarian war veterans to crocodiles of school children, Vietnamese have formed huge lines outside the Hanoi home of General Vo Nguyen Giap, who died aged 102 a week ago.
Two days of official mourning for Giap, who was second only to revered founding president Ho Chi Minh in the affections of the communist nation, start midday Friday, when all flags will be lowered to half mast.
The commemorations come as the heavily-censored one-party state tries to seize Giap's legacy as a symbol of its own legitimacy, promoting his image as a communist hero while downplaying the general's later activities as a persistent government critic.