Mandela's mourners gather in cities worldwide

A woman mourns for Nelson Mandela after placing a floral tribute outside the South Africa High Commission in London, oon Friday, Dec 6, 2013. People gathered in cities around the world to make their own personal tributes to Nelson Mandela on Friday,
A woman mourns for Nelson Mandela after placing a floral tribute outside the South Africa High Commission in London, oon Friday, Dec 6, 2013. People gathered in cities around the world to make their own personal tributes to Nelson Mandela on Friday, Dec 6, 2013, leaving flowers and setting up makeshift shrines in an outpouring of emotion for South Africa's anti-apartheid icon. -- PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP) - People gathered in cities around the world to make their own personal tributes to Nelson Mandela on Friday, leaving flowers and setting up makeshift shrines in an outpouring of emotion for South Africa's anti-apartheid icon.

From Beijing to Kiev to London, members of the public offered spontaneous celebrations of Mandela's life to sit alongside official displays of mourning following his death aged 95.

A statue of Mandela outside the British parliament was the focus for one of the biggest tributes, while mourners left floral offerings at South African embassies around the globe in a sign of his far-reaching influence.

"It's amazing how one person made so much change," said Ms Joan Foster, 51, from London, as she left a bunch of flowers in Parliament Square.

People also left South Africa scarves, candles and portraits at the foot of the huge bronze statue. One woman taped a picture of Mandela to the stone plinth next to where his name is carved.

One card read: "Thank you for the sacrifices you made for all of us", while another said: "May God shine light on your homecoming in heaven. Rest in Peace Mr Mandela."

London Mayor Boris Johnson declared that the square was "now a garden of remembrance for those wanting to leave floral tributes."

"This man brought together a nation that was deeply divided, and he really brought it together. That, in my opinion, makes him a true legend," said another mourner Harry in the square from Scotland.

Flowers were also left by a bust of Mandela outside the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank of the River Thames.

Hundreds of people lined up to pay tributes at South Africa House, the country's embassy in London, which sits on the corner of the famed Trafalgar Square.

Prime Minister David Cameron signed a book of condolence set up at the embassy in which he ended with the biblical quote: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."

Queen Elizabeth II's daughter Princess Anne also attended the embassy.

Books of condolence were also set up in Brixton, a south London borough with a large black population that Mandela visited in 1996, and in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

Many countries ordered their flags to be flown at half mast, as did the European Union in Brussels.

In Ukraine, where protesters angered by the government's decision to reject a historic deal with the European Union have taken over the main square in Kiev, one demonstrator hailed Mandela's influence.

"For Ukraine he is a symbol of democracy and equality between all nations and races. He was a major figure, we respect him," said mourner Viktor, 58.

In the Chinese capital Beijing, people left huge wreaths of flowers outside the South African embassy. College students also left bunches of yellow flowers by a photo of Mandela set up in Hengyang, central Hunan province.

In Paris, an enormous portrait of Mandela was displayed on the facade of the Quai d'Orsay, the palatial 19th-century building that houses the French foreign ministry on the banks of the River Seine.

There were flowers and a copy of a newspaper saying "Adieu Mandela" in front of the South African embassy in the French capital.

Floral tributes were also left in front of South African embassies in Brussels and the Australian capital Canberra.